Friday, January 16, 2009

Kyrgyzstan to demand U.S. army withdraw from Ganci air base

Mathaba | Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev will sign a decree demanding the retreat before his visit to Russia in the near future, the news agency said.

Kyrgyzstan will demand the U.S. army dismantle all its facilities at the Ganci base and halt all activities at the base within six months.

The move by Kyrgyzstan will have a positive influence on negotiations between Russia and Kyrgyzstan over the former providing 300 million U.S. dollars credit to the latter, the Russian Business Consulting Agency said.

Bakiyev also hopes Russia will write off about 180 million dollars in debt.

The United States set up the Ganci Air Base at Manas international airport in the suburb of Bishkek in 2001 in its war against Afghanistan.

In recent years, conflicts between U.S. troops and local residents have occurred from time to time. In Dec. 2006, U.S. soldiers stationed at the base killed a local airport worker, drawing resentment from the Kyrgyz public.

The Kyrgyz parliament has urged the government to reconsider the necessity of the existence of the Ganci base.
Kyrgyzstan will call for the U.S. army to withdraw from the Ganci Air Base near its capital Bishkek, Kazakhstan News Agency cited Russian media as reporting on Monday.
What does this mean? Hard to say exactly, but it cannot be great news for US military strategic planners. Is that great game they're all playing going to be heating up soon? Kyrgyzstan straddles the high ground between China and Russia and has great strategic value because of its unique geographic position.