Kyrgyzstan

New Negotiations for U.S. Air Base?

On the second day of turmoil in Kyrgyzstan, the uprising began to throw into question the future of a critically positioned U.S. air base that supplies troops in Afghanistan. Opposition leaders said they would not shut down the base, but they did hint at new negotiations to maintain it. Less than a year ago, the government tripled the rent on the U.S., in addition to charging $150 million for other concessions. One Central Asia expert said that the base had become a symbol for President Bakiyev’s corruption, since the U.S.’ desire to secure it had led to them turning “a blind eye” to the government’s malfeasance. But he also predicted that Kyrgyzstan was unlikely to kick the U.S. out, because it depends on it for financial assistance and diplomatic relations.