Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Russian About Face On Logistical Support For Afghan Operation?

Instapundit notes that the Russians are about to pull the rug out from under the US and NATO in their ongoing Afghan operation.
Russian news agencies are reporting that the government of Kyrgyzstan will close Manas Air Base, a vital conduit for U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

RIA-Novosti quotes Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev as saying that his government "has made the decision to end the term for the American base on the territory of Kyrgyzstan." (The RIA-Novosti news report, which followed a press conference in Moscow, has not been translated into English; the Associated Press has a summary.)
It was only a few days ago that it was reported that President Bush had negotiated deals allowing access to bases in Central Asia to support the Afghan campaign; a vital necessity given that the Pakistani supply routes are coming under attack on a daily basis by the Taliban and have been cut repeatedly (including today when the Taliban blew a major bridge).

The negotiated deal between the US and the Russians as reported by the AP story noted that several routes were being considered.
U.S. officials have said one likely new route is overland from Russia through Kazakhstan and on through Uzbekistan using trucks and trains. Another possible route is through Azerbaijan across the Caspian Sea to the Kazakh port of Aktau and then through Uzbekistan.
Has Russia done an about face? It certainly appears that they're twisting the screws and testing President Obama.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Instapundit links. Thanks!

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