Related News

Home » World

US forces still under orders to go

KYRGYZSTAN'S prime minister said yesterday his government was not in talks with Washington on the possibility of allowing United States forces to remain at an air base that provides support for military operations in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Igor Chudinov spoke a day after the Pentagon reported progress in negotiations on maintaining a presence at Manas air base.

"There was not, and is not, any order and authorization for any government official to conduct such negotiations," Chudinov said.

The US has leased the base in the ex-Soviet republic since 2001. It is a transit point for 15,000 troops and 500 tons of cargo a month.

Kyrgyzstan ordered the base closed in February, citing inadequate financial compensation and other concerns, and gave US forces six months to leave.

Losing the Manas base would pose a serious challenge to US President Barack Obama's plan to send 21,000 more troops into Afghanistan this year to fight Taliban and al-Qaida violence.

A senior US administration official said last month that Kyrgyzstan had invited the US to hold discussions on the possibility of the lease agreement remaining in force. On Tuesday, a Pentagon spokesman reported progress, saying: "I think we see reason for hope there, that that can be worked out."

Some Kyrgyz analysts have speculated that US forces may be able to continue using Manas base under a different status, but Chudinov said the decision on closure remained unchanged.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend