The US has agreed to more than triple the rent it pays for use of a key air base in Kyrgyzstan to ship non-lethal military supplies to Afghanistan under a deal approved today, reports the AP. The accord over the Manas Air Base comes four months after the Central Asian nation evicted US troops. Under the new one-year deal, rent will increase to $60 million per year from the current $17.4 million.
Today's deal falls short of maintaining the base as a full-fledged military facility, but it will provide logistical support for the US-led coalition in Afghanistan. The breakthrough appeared to stem in part from a personal message sent by President Obama recently: he thanked the Kyrgyz president for his support of the Afghanistan mission, and Hamid Karzai also lobbied for coalition forces to continue using Manas.