The U.S. military command may relocate Manas military air base from Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan, Kursiv writes.
“Kyrgyzstan authorities made a final decision on Manas base. It is shutting down. Meanwhile, the American military command said it would no have finished its operations in Central Asian region by that time and would need a new place to relocate its base to. Kazakhstan’s Aktau and Shymkent are among the options that are being considered,” the newspaper writes.
The Kyrgyzstan base's contract expires in July in 2014 and the country's parliament has voted not to renew it.
"At this time our plans would be to stop our operation and be complete here at the transit center. According to the ISAF and the President we will not be out of Afghanistan by that time, mid-July 2014, so the operations will have to move some place else," Colonel John Millard said.
However, the commander’s statement was removed from the Pentagon’s official channel shortly after it was released.
Political expert Kurban Yuvshanov said in an interview: “Kazakhstan is viewed as the country involved in American interests least of all in Central Asia. And it is quite possible the American command may be looking to Kazakhstan for territories of potential relocation of its base and enhancement of its own political and military influence.” Meanwhile, the newspaper notes that Tajikistan is also a potential location for Americans in need to move out of Kyrgyzstan.
The American air base in Bishkek, later renamed to the Transit Transportation Center, was established in Manas international airport in December 2001. It serves as a major transport and logistics hub for freights transportation to Afghanistan.
The law denouncing the agreement on location of the U.S. air base in Manas international airport was signed in June 2013. According to the law, all the operations of the Transit Transportation Center in Kyrgyzstan shall be suspended after July 11, 2014.