The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Russkies Twist the Knife
Fun fact: A brigade deployed to Afghanistan is twice as expensive to maintain as a brigade in Iraq. Resupply, as you might have guessed, is the primary issue.
So today couldn't get any worse from a logistical standpoint, what with the Taliban blowing up key bridges in Pakistan and such, right? Wrong!MOSCOW — In Moscow to seek financial support, the president of Kyrgyzstan, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, on Tuesday announced that a decision to close a U.S. air base in his country — a decision that will seriously hamper U.S. efforts in Afghanistan.
Mr. Bakiyev arrived in Moscow under pressure to ease economic troubles in Kyrgyzstan, which is heavily in debt to Russia and dependent on remittances from migrant workers. President Dmitri A. Medvedev said Russia would extend a $2 billion loan and $150 million in aid to Kyrgyzstan, which Mr. Bakiyev hailed as “serious and important support.” ...
Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, on Tuesday called Manas “a hugely important” airbase for the United States. The base has served as an air hub and refueling and transit point for NATO efforts in Afghanistan, and U.S. officials have several times intervened when Kyrgyz officials considered shutting it.
I can hear Vladimir Putin howling with laughter all the way here in Southeast DC. The Russians are managing to screw us in Afghanistan as badly as we screwed them 20 years ago.
The base was opened in 2001 with Moscow’s blessing, but Russian leaders were increasingly irritated by the continuing presence of American troops there. It was not clear whether Russian officials had pressed Bishkek to end the agreement.
To Russians, the longstanding U.S. presence at Manas suggested ambitions “to strengthen its position in this region” – against Moscow’s and Beijing’s interests, said Andronik Migranyan, an analyst at the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, a Russian think-tank based in New York.
(via Glenn Reynolds)