US Cuts Deal on Central Asia Military Base
Troops must leave, but base will help Afghanistan mission
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 23, 2009 6:05 AM CDT
US soldiers patrol the air base during a joint military exercise with France at the Manas Air Base, located near the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek.   (Misha Japaridze)
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(Newser) – 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.