April 16th, 2014
11:45 AM ET

Move from Kyrgyzstan to put (a little) space between U.S., Russian militaries

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Believe it or not, there is one country on earth that is home to both U.S. and Russian soldiers, the opposing nations stationed a mere 20 miles from each other. It's a landlocked, mountainous country, and its parliament has been known to sacrifice sheep.

We’re talking about Kyrgyzstan, where the Transit Center at Manas has been a main staging ground for American troops and supplies to move into Afghanistan since 2001. It's less than an hour's drive from Russia's Kant airbase – so close they could practically borrow cups of sugar. But you can see from the pictures in the video that this military neighborhood will soon come to an end.

The Kyrgyz parliament voted not to extend the American lease, and the U.S. has been given its eviction notice. It must vacate by July. U.S. forces are getting ready to go, packing up boxes and breaking down large tents.

Will this put some much needed space between the United States and Russian militaries? Actually, not so much. The U.S. will now use its newly outfitted Transit Center in Romania – 250 miles from Sevastopol, where there is, of course, a Russian base on the Crimean peninsula.

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Topics: Last Look • Military • Russia • United States

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Greg

    Really sad to see Manas go but I suppose it had to happen eventually. I spent sometime there going to and from Afghanistan. Kyrgyzstan is a gorgeous country and the locals on base were friendly and a lot of fun to talk too. Not a place most people would have ever gotten to see otherwise.

    April 16, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
    • j. von hettlingen

      Indeed Kyrgyzstan still has unspoiled nature, but it also features in the US-Russian rivalry for control of Central Asia. Various Kyrgyz leaders have proved adept at playing the country's competing allies off against each other.
      The US set up a base at Manas in 2001 to support military operations in Afghanistan. President Bakiyev threatened to close it in 2008 after agreeing to a Russian loan. He reversed the decision when the US agreed to more than triple its annual rent for the base. Weeks later Bakiyev agreed to allow Russia to open a second military base. In 2012 after Putin agreed to write off Kyrgyzstan's debt, President Atambayev agreed to a 15-year extension to Moscow's lease on the Kant base, but said that the lease on the US base would not be renewed.

      April 18, 2014 at 11:14 am |
  2. Ferhat Balkan

    President Almazbek Atambayev who was elected back in 2011 had stated that he planned to turn the base into a civilian airport. He's also staked heavily on closer ties with Russia, so it comes as no surprise. I believe the US lease on the base was up until July of this year. Russia has been growing increasingly uncomfortable with the US military presence there and has placed pressure on the current government in Kyrgyzstan not to renew the contract. Kyrgyzstan also has heavy economic ties to Russia.

    April 16, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
  3. GOP Prayer

    The GOP Prayer/Mantra/Solution: Dear God...With your loving kindness, help us to turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Non-white, Non-christian, Female, and Gay people into slaves. Then, with your guidance and compassion, we will whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, White, Christian, Male, and Straight. Or until they are dead. God...Grant us the knowledge to then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military during the next "unfunded/off-the-books" war. God...Give us the strength during our speeches to repeatedly yell........TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH!!!..........and........GET RID OF SS AND MEDICARE!!!
    In your name we prey (purposely misspelled, or is it?)........Amen

    April 16, 2014 at 9:40 pm |
  4. ✠RZ✠

    Better yet, why not unite all the world's military into one global force designed to actually protect people rather than attacking each other ?

    April 16, 2014 at 9:42 pm |
  5. chrissy

    Isnt that what One World Order is all about @ RZ? And could you just imagine how well that would go? Lol. Would be like the three stooges imo! I dont think it would last 24 hrs before they start killin each other.

    April 16, 2014 at 10:58 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      If people stopped having wars, there would not be any more countries. Then, after a little while, there would not be any more people, because wars are a result of the survival instinct, which has enabled human beings to evolve, and now enables their continued existence.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:47 am |
      • Unga Ramires

        Well said

        April 18, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
    • ✠RZ✠

      I think that's what the UN is supposed to do. Now talk about "dysfunctional" ! You can't have a global military force controlled and challenged by existing superpowers. You want to solve a lot of the world's problems ?!? Start by relinquishing your forces to a global brother's in arms that answer to all the countries of the world. Not just Washington, Moscow, or Beijing. Certainly would free up a lot of wasted effort, energy, capital and manpower to maybe help get us off this messed up rock.

      April 17, 2014 at 8:11 am |
  6. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    April 16, 2014 at 11:19 pm |
  7. Ulan

    Americans did and still doing good things to Kyrgyzstani people. But our country is under control of russians. They dictate us what to do on the ground of foreign affairs. Russians put their hand in replacing previous president in 2010 when the latter refused to remove Manas Airbase... So, it was rather Kremlin's demand and decision. For us Manas Airbase was an additional source to fill the republic's budget.

    April 17, 2014 at 6:18 am |
  8. chrissy

    Lol now @ RZ they have been offering one way tickets to Mars and i heard so far they have 2 booked passengers! So theres your way off THIS rock! Ya game? Lmao

    April 17, 2014 at 10:29 am |
    • ✠RZ✠

      Mars is only good for a stop over, remember, it's named after a God of War.

      April 17, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
  9. chrissy

    But note this...the flights departure date isn't until September 2022 and arival date is April 2023. Thats an awful long time in a very small space! Claustrophobics should not apply.

    April 17, 2014 at 10:38 am |
    • ✠RZ✠

      Being frozen to the core for a year or less is nothing. My first wife managed to do it for a number of years without any problem whatsoever.

      April 17, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
  10. chrissy

    OMG @ RZ, ask and yee shall recieve lmao! Theres a story on the latest news of cnn's home page about NASA discovering another planet that may be habitable! And they found no signs that ETs exist there!!!! Wow! From your lips...to Gods ears huh? Lol

    April 17, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
    • ✠RZ✠

      Surly you must know that God is not inclined to listening so much as to speaking. The problem is that people have usurped this trait so much for themselves that the Almighty may need to let out a wee bit of a roar Himself to remind us who and what we really are. So I'm just gonna shut up and go enjoy my Easter weekend. And btw, Easter includes things like fish, deviled eggs, ham, lamb, and most definitely plenty of the Spaddooch.

      So peace and goodwill towards men. Yes, and even to that derp ass troll if his face hasn't already fallen flat into a "succulent" pizza. Unbelievable! "Succulent" What a derp. May God have mercy on his soul.

      April 17, 2014 at 8:22 pm |
  11. chrissy

    Must be we have all the extra~terrestrials here! Lucky break there boy lmao.

    April 17, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
  12. chrissy

    Lmao theres only one glitch in this little scenario...only the 1% will be able to afford the trip (which i assume will also be one way) BUT...on the flip side....they will very quickly have to learn how to be the working class! Whoa! Then all the ETs will be removed from planet Earth! This COULD be the greatest thing since sliced bread huh? Lmao!

    April 17, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
  13. chrissy

    OMG! You have just TOPPED every hilarious thing you have EVER posted lolololol! You sir, are freakin awesome!

    April 17, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
  14. chrissy

    And since the NEW discovered planet is light years away Mars would BE a stopover huh? Lol

    April 17, 2014 at 7:01 pm |
  15. chrissy

    Oh you mean the "spawn of satan" JR? Yes i know exactly who you mean and derp ass troll is most appropriate! Hes been jackin me for 3 very long years on TJI! The root cause of the closing of that blog and now hes working on this one! And i do believe God listens btw...otherwise i may have not made it through some tough times in my life. Oh and laughter being the very best medicine i also have you to thank as well! Lol. Have a very nice Easter!

    April 17, 2014 at 9:28 pm |
  16. DerBaron

    Geopolitical gamesmanship aside, let's not forget radical Islamists hate both countries.

    May 6, 2014 at 11:20 pm |

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