Home > Uncategorized > U.S., NATO Shift Operations From Kyrgyz To Romanian Base

U.S., NATO Shift Operations From Kyrgyz To Romanian Base

RT
October 19, 2013

US begins shifting Afghan logistics hub from Kyrgyzstan to Romania

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Then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld inspecting the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base in 2004

The Pentagon has begun transitioning its Afghanistan air logistics base to Romania and plans to complete the shift from Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan by July 2014 when its contract ends.

The announcement of the move to a new air hub in eastern Romania at forward operating site Mihail Kogalniceanu followed a visit to the Pentagon from Romanian Defense Minister Mircea Dusa on Friday.

The site – on the Black Sea whereas the Kyrgyz site was landlocked – has been used by the US since 1999. A 2005 agreement allowed the US to access several Romanian bases for training, storage, and deployments, Reuters reported.

In June, the Kyrgyz Parliament passed a bill that ended the US lease of Manas Transit Center near the country’s capital Bishkek.

The US rented the base near Bishkek for more than a decade as part of logistics support for the US-led coalition in Afghanistan, in order to refuel airlift transports carrying cargo and troops.

In 2009, Kyrgyzstan’s then-President Kurmanbek Bakiev planned to shut down the transportation hub, but instead rebranded it as a transit center in order to allow it to continue operations. This U-turn came after Washington agreed to triple its lease payment to about $60 million a year following Russian promises of $2 billion in loans to the Kyrgyz government.

Bakiev was then ousted in a public uprising, and after a period of turmoil was replaced by newly elected President Almazbek Atambayev. After assuming Kyrgyzstan’s highest office in 2011, he announced that Bishkek does not plan to renew the lease after it expires in July 2014.

The US base has been at the center of several scandals since its opening in 2001, including the fatal shooting of a local man by an American guard at a base checkpoint. The killing was not prosecuted by Kyrgyzstan, as US Military personnel have legal immunity in the country. Critics also voiced concerns over environmental damage and potential threats from US enemies against the stronghold.

In addition, Bishkek took issue with the US paying hundreds of millions of dollars to secretive contractors for fuel supplies. Following the revolt in 2010, the new government accused two contractors – Mina Corp and Red Star Enterprises – of making a deal with the former leader’s son to ensure access to Manas. The agreement with the companies was eventually scuttled upon further scrutiny from Washington.

The US and Romania previously agreed on the construction of a land-based Aegis missile defense system…Work on the system is set to begin later this month.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Kathleen
    October 26, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Well, good riddance! What nation wants foreign soldiers with free legal reign to murder? The SOFA was in Rambouillet too. But before that it was sex crimes committed in Okinawa since 1972 and in 2012 when a servicemen curfew was necessary. What nation wants laws protecting citizens suspended? What if those same nation’s servicemen came to the US, will the US stand for a SOFA?!

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