Kyrgyzstan may have given the US military its marching orders, but Washington says the matter is far from closed.
It says it still believes it can reach a deal to keep a US air base there open, despite Kyrgyzstan giving formal notice that it must close within six months. The base is crucial for getting US supplies to troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But people who live near the base have mixed feelings. One woman said: “Maybe jobs that were available in the base were good. But other than that, against terrorism and civil attacks, I don’t think there were any positive signs.” The base has been a vital transit point for some 15,000 US troops and 500 tonnes of cargo every month. Local jobs are also at stake. “It’s going to be hard if it closes,” said one canteen worker. “Many will have to look for new jobs. And there’s not much work in the city.” Russia has denied claims that it put pressure on Kyrgyzstan to close the base, in exchange for a financial aid package.