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USA

Pentagon Paid Airport Fees to Turkmenistan, But Can’t Say How Much

Humanitarian aid bound for Afghanistan is unloaded in Turkmenistan. (Photo: US Air Force/TSgt. Efrain Gonzalez)

For more than six years, the Pentagon paid fees to the Turkmen government for the use of the Central Asian nation’s airports. However, officials in Washington either won’t or can’t say just how much was paid to Ashgabat from 2002-2008. All that they will say is that such payments made to Turkmenistan were inadvertent.

An Air Force Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), issued in 2009, showed that payments sent to Turkmenistan should be made to the State Civil Aviation Department via a Deutsche Bank corresponding account. The same Deutsche Bank account came under scrutiny in 2006 in a lengthy analysis published by the German magazine Der Spiegel, which said that former Turkmen dictator Saparmurat Niyazov used the account to “park” state revenue “in foreign banks undeclared on the government’s books.”

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Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in Central Asian affairs.

Pentagon Paid Airport Fees to Turkmenistan, But Can’t Say How Much

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