The construction of an American army base started in the republic of Kyrgyzstan at the major airport of the republic, Manas. The first aircraft of the American Air Force have already landed. Each of them delivered 60 thousand tons of cargo, including military, technical, and navigation equipment, as well as humanitarian aid for Afghanistan. The personnel, 150 people so far, are also located there. It is planned station about 3200 people there further on, pilots and technicians. It will also be possible to have up to 40 pursuit planes and transport aircraft at Manas. The Italian, French, and Canadian aviation are expected to join the Americans in the nearest future. They will set up a mobile hospital for rendering medical aid to the pilots of the anti-terrorist coalition countries.
As it is known, the parliament of Kyrgyzia gave permission for the use of the airbase by foreign air forces about two weeks ago. The deputies believe that the operating army base will not exert its influence on the geopolitical situation but the American presence will seriously help the Kyrgyz aviators. The volume of the air transportation dropped in the republic after the terrorist attack on America. The foreigners will have to pay up to seven thousand dollars for every take off of each plane. The sum may turn rather considerable, since there will be about 30 sorties performed daily from the Manas airbase when the anti-terrorist coalition deploys all their forces there.
Christopher Kelly was appointed the commander of the US Air Force group at Manas. Kelly is the deputy commander of the 15th Division of the US Air Force, the liability of which covers the territory from the Mississippi river to the eastern coast of Africa. There are about 70 thousand soldiers and officers in the Air Force, the aircrafts of this group are deployed at six bases in the USA itself and also in 47 points of the Pacific Ocean region. This allows them to reach any point on the planet very efficiently. Now, they have another base in Kyrgyzstan.
General Kelly stressed at one of his briefings that the presence of American aviation in Central Asia was first and foremost connected with rendering humanitarian aid to the northern territories of Afghanistan, which suffered as a result of the anti-terrorist operation against the Taliban movement. Kyrgyzstan turned out to be the most strategic place for the American Air Force due to its geographical position. American experts selected the Manas airport as the best airbase that would suit the technical conditions. The general stated that the period during which the forces of the anti-terrorist coalition countries could stay there will be connected with the process of the struggle against terrorists that is like a marathon, as Kelly put it, which could last for years.
The general’s allegations surely match the policy of the United States of America in the region. The executive assistant to Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones was recently proven right the other day. Making a report to the Senate about American policy in Central Asia, she said that relations with the countries of the region would develop not only in the military field but also in the security, energy, political, and social spheres. In particular, it is considered that the goods and the materials for the gradual reconstruction of Afghanistan will be acquired from the neighbouring countries, which would give an incentive to their economic rise.
“We would like to support the countries of Central Asia in the aspiration to reform their society, as they supported us in the war with terrorism,” – Jones stated. She also added that the USA was going to emphasise the issue of the observation of human rights in the region, which would require separate resources for each party. For Kyrgyzstan, for instance, it stipulates help with debt payment help. Moreover, the USA is ready to extend its constant support to to democratic institutes, non-governmental organizations, and independent media. America is not going to be disinterested in this respect; it will go that way in return to certain steps aimed at the transformation of the country and society. Jones finished her report with a bold statement, saying that “when the conflict in Afghanistan is over, the USA will not leave Central Asia.”
These words caused serious anxiety among the deputies of the Kyrgyzstan parliament, who voted for a short, temporal presence of the NATO forces in their republic. Some of the deputies said the final resolution had to be considered again, specifying the terms during which the foreign military forces can stay in Kyrgyzstan. The representatives of the left-wing parties threatened actions of protest. The engine has been already started though, and there is some information that said that those terms had been negotiated between the countries at the highest level already.
Yury Razgulayev PRAVDA.Ru Bishkek Kyrgyzstan
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov