USA's Asian Air Bridge May Collapse

Another U.S. military base may appear in Kyrgyzstan. It will be located in the south, near the town of Osh. This information was released by Press TV channel with a reference to The Washington Post. In turn, the American journalists refer to the sources in the US Defense Department.

They quote the Deputy Secretary of State Robert Blake, who stated that the Pentagon needed the new military base “Polygon Osh” to help maintain stability in the country and the region, to prevent further exacerbation of interethnic relations between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks, and the breakthrough of Afghan fighters into the territory of Kyrgyzstan.

According to the media, in contrast to the air base at Manas, the Osh option would be “land” only. It will host exclusively infantry units without heavy weapons. According to foreign media, the annual lease for the base in Osh will amount to $10 million dollars.

The existing Manas airbase is used as a major transit transport center for transportation of military supplies to NATO groups in Afghanistan. Not surprisingly, the White House called the preservation of the security of this base a “national priority.”

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As for Osh, some violent ethnic clashes between Uzbeks and Kirghiz did occur here in June of 2010. As a result, according to various data, 300 to 2,000 people were killed.

Kyrgyzstan also hosts a Russian military air base in Kant, which has been being leased by Russia for 49 years. The base is home to multi-purpose fighters Su-27, Su-25, military transport and training aircrafts.

Is the information about the appearance of a second U.S. military base true? The official Bishkek has issued no confirmation as of yet. However, it has not refuted the information either.

Aizada Igibaeva, Deputy Head of Press Center of Kirghizia Defense Ministry, stated that a new military facility in the south of the country will be opened. The facility will be hosting Americans. However, they will serve not as staff of a separate facility but rather, as instructors for training center for the Kyrgyz armed forces. Moreover, 5.5 million dollars were donated to the center by the American side.

However, the head of the information coordination center of the interim government Farid Niyazov is not as categorical. “President Rosa Otunbayeva has repeatedly stated that a solution to this problem (of a full-fledged independent American military base in the republic) will be the prerogative of the legitimately elected parliament. “ The parliament is to be elected this fall.

We will see how the parliament votes. However, we cannot rule out a scenario where Kyrgyzstan still gets a new American base. Anatoly Tsyganok and Pavel Zolotarev, military experts, commented on the situation for

"Americans need to get a guarantee that the base at Manas will continue to operate, because it accounts for half of all the goods supplied to the NATO groups in Afghanistan,” said the expert of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis Anatoly Tsyganok.”Domestic instability in Kyrgyzstan concerns the U.S. officials.

They want to be sure that the “air bridge” does not collapse. After all, they have nothing here other than aviation units. The fact that they would like to locate infantry units here in case of an emergency should not come as a surprise.

The importance of maintaining military presence in the country for the Americans and NATO as a whole stems from the fact that today it is clear that in 2012 they will not leave Afghanistan,” the expert is convinced.

”It is not only a desire to keep the possibility to supply the NATO Afghan group,” believes Pavel Zolotarev, deputy director of the Institute of USA and Canada. “Americans are seeking to gain a foothold in the important region where geopolitical interests of different countries clash. India and China are close. In addition, Washington believes that the time is good for this now. Moscow, in fact, has removed itself from the Kyrgyz situation, describing the events as an internal affair of Bishkek. As we know, nature abhors a vacuum.”

Sergei Balmasov

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov