BISHKEK, June 20 (RIA Novosti) – The parliament of the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a bill ordering the closure of a US airbase that serves as the main transit hub for NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Kyrgyzstan’s parliamentary opposition, however, claims that the bill is premature because the government has failed to explain how it is going to compensate for the $60 million that the country receives annually from the United States to operate the base, set up in 2001.
According to the bill, passed in the third and final reading by a 94-5 vote, US forces must abandon the base, located at Manas International Airport near the capital Bishkek, by July 2014.
Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev already in 2011 announced plans to shut the base down by 2014, when the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force is to be pulled out of Afghanistan. He is soon expected to sign the recently passed bill into law.