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Karzai Asks Kyrgyz To Keep Air Base Open To NATO


Afghan President Hamid Karzai could meet with his Kyrgyz counterpart at an SCO summit later this month.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai could meet with his Kyrgyz counterpart at an SCO summit later this month.

BISHKEK -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai has asked his Kyrgyz counterpart to meet for talks regarding the use of an air base at Manas International Airport to support U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.

Kyrgyzstan annulled its lease agreements for the base with all NATO member states earlier this year, and U.S. forces who are the main users of the base are due to leave by August.

Maksim Kaganer, the deputy chief of the Kyrgyz Presidential Secretariat, told RFE/RL that a diplomatic letter from Karzai to Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev expresses the Afghan president's concerns regarding security and stability in his country.

The letter reportedly adds that a failure of counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan would affect Kyrgyzstan and the rest of Central Asia.

Kaganer said Karzai asked Bakiev to consider the seriousness of the situation and help Afghanistan by allowing operations at Manas air base to continue.

Kaganer said a possible meeting between Karzai and Bakiev to discuss the situation could be held at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's summit in Yekaterinburg later this month.
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