Tajikistan's Ayni airbase opens -- but who is using it?
The military airfield that Tajikistan has been renovating with Indian support has opened:
On Friday September 3, President Emomali Rahmon attended an official ceremony of opening of the renovated Ayni airfield belonging to the Ministry of Defense (MoD)....
According to presidential press service, some 70 million U.S. dollars have been spent by the Tajik and Indian sides for rehabilitation of the airfield. After renovation, the Ayni airfield that has a 3200-meter runway may accept any type of aircraft, the source said.
But no word yet on what, exactly, Ayni will be used for. Recall that it at first seemed as if India was preparing it to use as its first foreign air base, but that desire appears to have waned. In addition, most observers say that Russia doesn't want to use it but doesn't want anyone else to use it either. And Tajikistan barely has an air force. So what's the airfield going to be used for? Still a mystery. But look here for more updates.
Joshua Kucera, a senior correspondent, is Eurasianet's former Turkey/Caucasus editor and has written for the site since 2007.
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