Category Archive 'Kyrgyzstan'

24 Jun 2009

Great Game: Point, US

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The Washington Post reports that a cool $180 million in US cash succeeded in changing the mind of the government of Kyrgyzstan, and the US will be allowed to retain use of a airbase vital for supplying military efforts in Afghanistan, Russia’s most recent $2 billion aid bribe to close US bases notwithstanding.

Russia was tricked by Kyrgyzstan over a deal with the United States to keep open a key air base in Central Asia, a Russian diplomat was quoted as saying by local media on Wednesday.

The United States has agreed to pay $180 million to Kyrgyzstan to keep open the last remaining U.S. air base in Central Asia which is used to supply troops fighting Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

Washington had been haggling to keep the base open since February, when the former Soviet republic announced its closure after securing pledges of $2 billion in aid and credit from Russia.

Moscow has made no secret of seeking to check U.S. interests in the former Soviet Union which it regards as its sphere of

The Kommersant newspaper quoted an unidentified Russian diplomat as saying Moscow viewed the U.S. move as a trick and that Russia would soon make an “adequate response” to the deal.

“The news about keeping the base was a very unpleasant surprise for us — we did not expect such a trick,” the diplomat said.

Russia’s move: February 5th posting.

05 Feb 2009

Russia Adds to Logistical Problems For US Forces in Afghanistan

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Taliban militants have concentrated their efforts for months on interdicting US supply routes to Afghanistan from the port of Karachi, Pakistan.

75 percent of the supplies for the Afghan war pass through Pakistan, including 40 percent of the fuel used by US military forces.

The Khyber Pass, described by Kipling as “a sword cut through the mountains,” features a winding road 30 miles/48 km long through the mountains of the Hindu Kush a crucial part of the trade route between Peshawar and Jallabad.

LA Times:

Reporting from Istanbul, Turkey, and Peshawar, Pakistan — A day after blowing up a crucial land bridge, Taliban militants torched 10 supply trucks returning from Afghanistan to Pakistan on Wednesday, underscoring the insurgents’ dominance of the main route used to transport supplies to Afghan-based U.S. and NATO troops.

Months of disruptions on the route from the Pakistani port of Karachi through the historic Khyber Pass have forced NATO and American military authorities to look for other transit options. About three-quarters of the supplies for Western forces in Afghanistan — mainly food and fuel — are ferried through Pakistan by contractors, usually poorly paid, semiliterate truckers. Many now refuse to drive the route because of the danger.

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of the U.S. Central Command, said last month during a visit to the region that routes outside Pakistan had been found, but he provided no details and gave no timetable for their use. The supply question has taken on added urgency with the planned deployment of up to 30,000 more U.S. troops in the Afghan theater in the next 18 months.

The complications of moving supplies through Central Asia were also highlighted Tuesday when the government of Kyrgyzstan said it would close a U.S. air base important to the Afghan war effort. U.S. officials said talks were underway to keep the base open.

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That closure results from our Russian friends’ latest move in playing the great game.

Investors Business Daily:

The Russia of Vladimir Putin and his puppet, President Dmitry Medvedev, threw some sand in our gears by getting the Kyrgyz government to close a vital NATO air base in that country in exchange for more than $2 billion in aid for that country’s struggling economy.

Russia has long resisted and resented U.S. interference in former Soviet republics as well as the expansion of NATO and democracy to the Russian border. It has put economic pressure on Ukraine, invaded Georgia and threatened Poland with missile attack. Now it wants to sabotage our efforts in Afghanistan, a country it failed to swallow up.

Two weeks ago, Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, met with senior Kyrgyz officials during a tour of the region, and they assured him there were no discussions with Moscow about closing the base in exchange for aid.

Petraeus announced on inauguration day that Russia and neighboring Central Asian nations had agreed to let supplies pass through their territory to U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, lessening our dependence on dangerous routes through Pakistan.

That need was shown Tuesday, when insurgents in Pakistan blew up a bridge in the Khyber Pass, disrupting one of two truck routes from the port of Karachi by which the 60,000 U.S.-led NATO troops in Afghanistan receive about 80% of their supplies.

“We have sought additional logistical routes into Afghanistan from the north. There have been agreements reached,” Petraeus, who oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said.

But as Moscow was offering new supply lines, it was also bribing the government of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to close the base at Manas by agreeing to provide Kyrgyzstan with $150 million in aid, to extend $2 billion in loans and to write off debt worth $180 million. Bakiyev made the announcement in Moscow.

The Russian business daily Kommersant, citing a “source close to the negotiations” with Bakiyev, said Moscow had made the U.S. base closure a strict condition for Kyrgyzstan getting aid.

25 Aug 2007

Kyrgyzstan Hunting Festival

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Taigan chases wolf at festival

The event was near the village of Bokonbayevo, some 186 miles east of the capital Bishkek, August 24, 2007. More then 20 hunters with dogs and eagles took part. The slideshow illustrates exhibitions of hunting with Taigans and Golden Eagles using domesticated wolves as the quarry. The Salburun (hunting) festival has been held annually since 1997.

Hat tip to Dr. Milton Ong.


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