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Manas air base (file photo)
25 July 2005 -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld today said the possible loss of access to an air base in Kyrgyzstan will not set back U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.
Rumsfeld made his remarks in Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek. He said the United States has options for compensating the loss of any single base in the region.
Rumsfeld's visit comes as Kyrgyz authorities have called for a review of the U.S. military's use of an air base on Kyrgyz territory, used to support operations in Afghanistan.
Earlier this month, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization -- grouping Kyrgyzstan, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan -- said Washington should set a date for withdrawing from
military bases in Central Asia.
Uzbek authorities have already placed restrictions on U.S. activities at an air base in Uzbekistan that U.S. forces have been using since late 2001.
Rumsfeld is on a three-day tour of Central Asia and the Middle East. He is due in Tajikistan tomorrow.
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