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NATO To Increase Use Of Kyrgyz Air Base

3 October 2005 -- A NATO official said today in Bishkek that the alliance will increase its use of the Ganci air base in Kyrgyzstan for conducting operations in Afghanistan.

Robert Simmons, special representative of the NATO secretary-general, made the remark while commenting on the consequences of the forced U.S. withdrawal from an air base in Uzbekistan.

In July, Uzbekistan gave the United States six months to vacate the Karshi-Khanabad base, which has played a role in U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan.

Simmons said NATO and the United States will continue to use military bases in Central Asia to support troops in Afghanistan, and that they will increase their use of the Ganci air base at Manas airport in Bishkek.

Simmons today met with Kyrgyz Defense Minister Ismail Isakov.

(RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service/Kabar)