U.S. vacates base in Central Asia as Russia's clout rises

MANAS TRANSIT CENTER Kyrgyzstan (Reuters) – The United States on Tuesday handed back its only Central Asian airbase to the government of Russia's close ally Kyrgyzstan, as President Barack Obama winds down U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Moscow makes a comeback in its old imperial backyard.

In a move aimed at pleasing its former overlord Russia, parliament in Kyrgyzstan voted a year ago to give Washington until July 11 to vacate the Manas Transit Center, which has served U.S. operations in Afghanistan since 2001.

"We were known as the gateway to Afghanistan on freedom's frontier," Colonel John Millard, commander of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing and Manas base head, told a group of visiting media on Monday.

"We offloaded more than 1 billion liters of fuel to 136,000 coalition aircraft … We like to say we fueled the fight." Full story
http://leelavadeeflower.blogspot.com/2014/06/us-vacates-base-in-central-asia-as.html

Caption: U.S. President Barack Obama greets U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan during an unannounced visit to Bagram Air Base in Kabul, May 25 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (AFGHANISTAN)

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