When news about a crucial Afghanistan supply base getting lost to the U.S. breaks, I can kind of sort of act MSMy. Here’s my latest tomorrow’s-day-story-written-this-afternoon piece, just published by the Washington Independent:
Manas is home to a “24-hour operation” supporting the Afghanistan war, said Vikram Singh, a South Asia expert at the Center for a New American Security who served in the Pentagon during the Bush administration, hosting fuel tankers, cargo and attack aircraft and medical evacuation resources, among other materiel. “This is not a small operation,” he said, adding that the loss of Manas could lead to a reduction in the tempo of military operations. “There’s no way to quantify it, but if you’re a commander on the ground, you’ve got to think that there are several things that aren’t available to you.”
Anthony Bowyer, director of the Central Asia program at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, a nongovernmental organization focusing on strengthening democratic governance, called the possible loss of the base a “diplomatic victory” for the Russians. “There was tremendous political pressure on President Bakiyev by the Russian Federation” to kick the United States out of Manas, as the Russians are wary of long-term U.S. intentions to host large numbers of NATO troops near its southern border.
I have to say, I’m kind of surprised at myself with how MSMy this one turned out. In any event, notice that both Pentagon and State Dept. spokespeople say that they’re going to continue negotiations with the Kyrgyzstan government to keep Manas. Also, the headline — Afghanistan Supply Base May Defect to Russia — is pure genius, courtesy of Laura McGann.