Trouble in Kyrgyzstan?:

A reporter in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, asked US Defense Secretary Robert Gates whether the US would alter the agreement with the Kyrgyz government for use of Manas Air Base, given the “negative mood against the placement of the coalition air base at the Manas Airport.” The unidentified reporter asked in particular about the “lifting of the diplomatic immunity” for US military at the facility. Gates responded that the agreement is “similar” to those of other nations who have military forces in Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz government negotiated for months with US officials over the rent it should receive. And, there have been several unfortunate events emanating from the USAF-run Manas Air Base, including a shooting incident, aircraft accident, and the mysterious case of the disappearing major. There also have been signs that all is well, as US airmen helped deliver humanitarian supplies and showed off USAF operations at Manas to Kyrgyz officials. Bottom line from Gates: “I think it is important for the people of Kyrgyzstan to understand is that our use of Manas is in support of a larger war on terror in which Kyrgyzstan is an ally of virtually every other nation on Earth.”