Kyrgyzstan’s parliament has voted overwhelmingly to close a US military air base in the country.
The Manas base is a key transit point for US and Nato operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan. The vote was passed by 78 votes to one. Once the bill is signed into law the US will have a 180 days to leave. The closure of what is the last remaining US air base in central poses a strategic problem for the US with thousands of American troops passing through Manas every mouth. Kyrgyzstan’s president Kurmanbek Bakiyev has accused the US of not paying enough rent for the base, announcing its closure after receiving more than 1.5 billion euros in aid from Russia. Yesterday, in his first military decision, US President Barack Obama ordered an extra 17,000 troops to Afghanistan increasing the US military presence to around 55,000 soldiers.