BISHKEK, June 26 (RIA Novosti) – The president of the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday signed a bill ordering the closure of a US airbase that serves as the main transit hub for NATO forces in Afghanistan.
According to the bill, US forces must abandon the base at Manas International Airport, near the capital Bishkek, by July 2014. The Kyrgyz parliament overwhelmingly approved the legislation last week.
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.
Kyrgyzstan’s parliamentary opposition, however, claimed that the bill was premature because the government had failed to explain how it was going to compensate for the $60 million that the country receives annually from the United States to operate the base, set up in 2001.