The German government appears willing to pay a very high price for use of the Termez air base in Uzbekistan, more than doubling its yearly payments to the authoritarian but strategic Central Asian state.
Along with lease payments for the facility -- which average 11 million euros per year since 2002 -- the German Bundestag agreed in 2010 to hand over an extra 15.95 million euros annually as “financial compensation” to the government of President Islam Karimov.
Termez is a key air hub for German and other International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops transiting in and out of Afghanistan. US personnel have been permitted to use the facility since 2008. Last year, 77,000 NATO troops touched down in Termez before catching onward flights according to the German Ministry of Defense.
Viola von Cramon, a Green Party member of the German parliament who requested clarification regarding the payments from the German government, said the previously undisclosed 2010 agreement raises troubling questions about Germany’s relationship with Tashkent.
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Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in Central Asian affairs.