On Tuesday Kyrgyzstan's president announced his country is ending U.S. use of a key airbase that supports military operations in Afghanistan.
Kyrgyzstan's government made a decision to finish the term of the presence of the base ... we are starting concrete actions to close the base, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said after talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow.
Ending U.S. access would have potentially far-reaching consequences for U.S. and NATO operations in Afghanistan, where the United States is preparing to deploy an additional 15,000 troops to shut down the Taliban and al-Qaida.
This would signal a significant victory for Moscow in its efforts to push the United States out of Central Asia, home to substantial oil and gas reserves and seen by Russia as part of its strategic sphere of influence.
Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev spoke on a visit to Moscow minutes after Russia announced it was providing the Central Asian nation with more than $2 billion in credit and aid.
The Kyrgyz government has made the decision on ending the term for the American base on the territory of Kyrgyzstan and this decision will be announced tomorrow or the day after, Bakiyev said in televised comments, the Associated Press reported.
The U.S. Embassy in Kyrgyzstan was also unable to comment immediately and said a press briefing was scheduled for Wednesday morning.
The United States set up the Manas base and a base in neighboring Uzbekistan after the September 2001 terror attacks, to back operations in Afghanistan.
Uzbekistan expelled U.S. troops from the base on its territory in 2005 in a dispute over human rights issues, leaving Manas as the only U.S. military facility in the region.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that despite Kyrgyzstan's decision, both countries will continue cooperating with the United States on Afghanistan.