It’s been an open secret for months, but government leaders in Kyrgyzstan have finally come out into the open with their aim: Bishkek wants full control of a US contract to supply aviation fuel to the Manas Transit Center.
Fuel contracts at Manas Transit Center, a US air base near Bishkek, may be subject to a re-bid, if irregularities are uncovered in the way they were secured or awarded, US Under Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affair Robert Blake says.
Operations at the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan have returned to normal after days of uncertainty and disruptions. Yet, even though the key cog in the Northern Distribution Network is back in action, the re-supply line continues to encounter lengthy delays in delivering materiel to US and NATO troops in Afghanistan.
There will be no changes to security arrangements that Kyrgyzstan has with both the United States and Russia until a duly elected government has a chance to review them, a top official in the Central Asian nation tells EurasiaNet.org.
The upheaval that brought down Kurmanbek Bayiev's administration in Kyrgyzstan occurred at a very inopportune time for the United States. Bakiyev's son, Maxim, who is now wanted in Kyrgyzstan on criminal charges, happened to be in the United States when upheaval erupted in Bishkek.
It's not often that do-overs occur in history. But Kyrgyzstan appears to the beneficiary of just such an opportunity, giving the country another shot at breaking free of authoritarianism's strong gravitational pull in Central Asia. Though lucky, the country still faces immense challenges as the provisional government tries to avoid the pitfalls that derailed the Tulip Revolution of 2005.
The upheaval gripping Kyrgyzstan is disrupting the flow of troops and materials bound for Afghanistan. A Defense Department announcement stated that the American-operated Manas Transit Center, located outside the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, will remain closed to US military and contractor air traffic from April 8-12.
A company with ties to Blackwater, the controversial private security firm now known as Xe, has been ferrying US government-directed cargos over the past five-plus years across Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.