Afghan President Karzai concerned about Manas Air Base

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has sent a letter to Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev suggesting bilateral talks. The air base at the international airport in the Kyrgyz capital is a key supply centre for NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Masud Ali-Uulu

2009-06-10

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has sent a letter to Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev suggesting bilateral talks. Head of the foreign policy department in the Kyrgyz presidential administration Aibek Moldogaziyev confirmed receipt of the communication.

Afghan Ambassador to Kazakhstan Abdullah Hai Haider handed the letter to his Kyrgyz counterpart during a June 2 meeting in Astana, the Kazakh capital. The letter was then delivered to the office of President Bakiyev.

“The Afghan leader described the situation in his country, saying the Afghan people must combat terrorism and extremism every day and everywhere”, said Moldogaziyev about the content of the letter. He also confirmed that Karzai asked Bakiyev to consider extending permission for Coalition anti-terrorist forces to use the air base in Manas, which is set to close Aug. 18 under a parliamentary decision.

The air base at the international airport in the Kyrgyz capital is a key supply centre for NATO forces in Afghanistan. The services provided by the 24-hour air base include mid-air refuelling for aircraft, air transport, medical evacuation and support for moving personnel and cargo to and from Afghanistan. As the U.S. military contingent in Afghanistan is expanding, and amid constant attacks on NATO convoys in Pakistan, the northern supply route remains an important link for the multi-national force in Afghanistan.

“I expect that our leader might meet with the president of Afghanistan who will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Yekaterinburg as a guest”, Moldogaziyev said. He added that, “We must resolve the situation not only in Afghanistan, but in the Afghan-Pakistani zone as well … Kyrgyzstan has offered and continues to offer constructive international efforts to stabilise the region.”

[24.kg, CA-News.org, Ferghana.ru, Azattyq.org]

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