U.S. to extend lease of Kyrgyz airbase: special envoy

15:29, March 03, 2010      

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The U.S. will soon extend its lease of an airbase with important military value in Kyrgyzstan, a U.S. special envoy said Tuesday.

Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, recently returned from his seventh trip this year to the two countries, during which he also visited several states in Central Asia -- the first such visits since he assumed the job.

Holbrooke said that the U.S. will soon extend the lease of the Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan which serves as an important pass-through transportation center for its military personnel and equipment in and out of Afghanistan.

"We will renew the arrangements in the next few weeks, and I wanted to launch that process," Holbrooke said when he briefed the press on his latest trip.

He appreciated Kyrgyzstan's support for America's war effort in Afghanistan.

Kyrgyzstan last year decided to terminate the U.S. lease of the base, but later it reached a 60-million-dollar lease deal with the U.S. -- more than three times of the previous charge -- allowing it to continue to use the base.

Source: Xinhua
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