Perhaps with an eye on obtaining a higher rent, Kyrgyz leaders are sending mixed signals concerning the future of an American military facility in Kyrgyzstan beyond 2014, the year the bulk of US and NATO forces are supposed to be out of Afghanistan.
Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev has reiterated that foreign troops should leave the Manas Transit Center, the American airbase near Bishkek, after the planned drawdown in Afghanistan is completed in 2014. However, his Defense Council Secretary, Busurmankul Tabaldiev, maintains that Kyrgyzstan has a vested interest in a stable Afghanistan, and is willing to assist the United States beyond 2014 “taking into account Kyrgyzstan’s interests, its security, and public opinion.”
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Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in Central Asian affairs.