New Manas Deal Takes Effect

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev on Tuesday signed into law the new agreement that allows the US military to keep using Manas Air Base as a major airlift hub from which to sustain its forces in Afghanistan and support the US troop surge there. The Associated Press reported July 7 that, with Bakiyev’s signature, the law takes effect immediately and reverses a measure adopted by the Kyrgyz government in February that would have evicted the US from Manas by August. Under the new agreement’s terms, the United States will now pay Kyrgyzstan $60 million in annual rent for the use of the base, up from the previous $17.4 million mark, according to AP. The Kyrgyz parliament approved the new deal back in June. Approximately 15,000 US personnel and about 500 tons of cargo transit Manas each month.