All flights carrying troops from the Manas base, a vital cog in supplying Nato operations in Afghanistan, were suspended from Friday evening, a spokesman for the base said. Troops are using alternative routes in and out of Afghanistan.MORE HERE.
“While normal flight operations at Manas were resumed on Friday, a decision was taken on Friday evening to temporarily divert military passenger transport flights,” the base’s spokesman, Rickardo Bodden, told Reuters by telephone.
Another US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was a security-related decision made by the base commander on the ground.
Pentagon officials say Manas is central to the war effort against the Taliban, allowing around-the-clock flights in and out of neighbouring Afghanistan. About 50,000 troops passed through last month alone.
Members of Kyrgyzstan’s self-proclaimed new leadership have said the US lease on the base could be shortened.
Russia, which sees former Soviet Kyrgyzstan as part of its traditional sphere of interest, also has an air base in the country. A Russian official, who declined to be named, said on Thursday that the country should have only a Russian base.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin became the first world leader to recognise the authority of the self-proclaimed government, just hours after it took power, raising suspicions that Moscow had played a role in the events.
Otunbayeva has described Russia as a key ally and publicly thanked Putin for his support. Almazbek Atambayev, deputy head of the new government, met Putin in Moscow yesterday but there were no details of the talks.
IS OBAMA AWARE THIS IS HAPPENING? IS HE GLAD THIS IS HAPPENING? WHAT IS HE DOING TO KEEP THE BASE OPEN TO US?
IT'S VITAL TO OUR NATIONAL SECURITY.
OH: OBAMA PLAYED GOLF TODAY AND WATCHED A DAUGHTER PLAY SOCCER. GREAT.