Planning a Manas Shuffle

The Air Force could move the mobility missions currently performed out of Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan to one or multiple locations when the time comes to leave this summer, said Lt. Gen. Gary North in a Thursday night meeting with reporters at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium. North, commander of 9th Air Force and US Central Command air operations, said all US military personnel heading to or from Afghanistan currently transit through Manas, so loss of the base will certainly pose a problem, especially with 17,000 additional combat forces headed to the landlocked nation. But, North noted, the Air Force has until August to “sort this out,” and is looking at a variety of options to serve as the mobility hub. Parts of the transport and refueling missions currently flown out of Manas could even be moved to Afghanistan itself, he said.