BISHKEK, November 14 (RIA Novosti) – Kyrgyzstan officially notified the United States on Thursday of the closure in July next year of a US base near the capital Bishkek that serves as the main transit hub for NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldayev met with US Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Pamela Spratlen to pass her a notification that the 2009 agreement with the United States regarding the Manas transit center will expire on July 11, 2014, the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry said.
In 2011, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev 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 signed a bill ordering the closure of the base into law in June.
The Manas base was set up in 2001 in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in America to support military operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan. The facility remains key to supply operations for the ongoing military campaign there.
It also hosts a fleet of coalition aerial tankers for refueling fighter and surveillance aircraft used in Afghanistan.
In early 2009, the Kyrgyz government announced that all US troops would have to leave the country, but later agreed to a deal with the Pentagon on new terms under which the facility was turned into a transit center.