Kyrgyzstan Votes to Shut Critical US Airbase

Military must leave Central Asian republic in 180 days
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2009 7:00 AM CST
An Air Force personnel member walks by a US plane at the Manas air base in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009.   (AP Photo/Azamat Imanaliev)
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(Newser) – The parliament of Kyrgyzstan voted nearly unanimously to close a critical American military base in the country, dealing a blow to Barack Obama's efforts to reinforce troops in Afghanistan. The vote, 78-1, means that the US has 180 days to remove its airplanes and equipment, reports the Guardian. Kyrgyzstan's president announced the surprise expulsion last month in Moscow after Russia promised the former Soviet state a $2.15 billion loan and debt forgiveness.