Afghan Karzai asks Kyrgyzstan to keep US army base

Afghan President Karzai has asked Kyrgyzstan to abandon plans to shut a US army air base used, a senior Kyrgyz official said.

Afghan Karzai asks Kyrgyzstan to keep US army base

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has asked Kyrgyzstan to abandon plans to shut a U.S. military air base used to boost U.S. led attacks in Afghanistan, a senior Kyrgyz official said on Saturday.

Kyrgyzstan announced its decision in February after securing pledges of $2 billion in aid and credit from Russia. Washington says it is in talks to persuade the tiny Central Asian nation to keep the base but Kyrgyzstan has said its decision is final.

Stepping into the diplomacy surrounding the fate of the Manas air base, Karzai sent a personal appeal to Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev asking him to give up the plan, said Maksim Kaganer, deputy head of the Kyrgyz presidential secretariat.

Afghanistan officials have not been available for comment.

Karzai and Bakiyev are expected to attend a June 15-16 summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a grouping of Central Asian states dominated by Russia and China, in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.

Washington is sending an extra 17,000 soldiers to Afghanistan this year in a bid to boost occupation of U.S. officials have acknowledged they are not winning.

Kyrgyzstan's decision to close Manas, the last remaining U.S. air base in Central Asia, poses a challenge to this plan.

Moscow sees Central Asia, a vast former Soviet region wedged between Afghanistan, Iran, Russia and China, as part of its traditional sphere of interest and has criticised the U.S. military there.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Haziran 2009, 18:16
YORUM EKLE