Another Night, No Sanctuary

Via Nathan Hodge at Danger Room, there are Russian reports that Kyrgyzstan is going to end U.S. access to their Manas Air Base. If true, that’s huge: Manas is a massive logisitics hub for resupplying U.S. forces in Afghanistan by air. At the moment, Taliban and aligned forces are going after NATO supply lines to Afghanistan that run by ground through Pakistan, and losing access to Manas would compound problems for the U.S. in Afghanistan significantly.

Manas is the only regional airbase the U.S. has access to for Afghanistan outside the country. As the Associated Press notes, the U.S. lost access to its the so-called "K-2" air base in Uzbekistan in 2005, the only other aerial resupply point alternative the U.S. had leased. For at least three years, the U.S. and the Kyrgyz governments have been working out payments for the expensive base, all while the Russians have been pressing the former Soviet Republic to get the U.S. out. If these reports are correct, the Afghanistan war just got a lot harder.

 A Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Mark Wright, says that the State Dept. hasn’t sent any notice to the Pentagon of any impending changes about Manas access, and couldn’t confirm these early reports. Wright continued to say that there were "multiple supply routes, both air and ground" to keep resupplying troops in Afghanistan, but wouldn’t get into any specifics about rerouting in the "hypothetical" case of losing Manas.

Crossposted to The Streak.

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Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman