U.S. and Russian Bases in Kyrgyzstan Affected by Unrest

From Stars and Stripes: The U.S. air base in Kyrgyzstan was temporarily closed on Wednesday amid anti-government protests that may have forced the country’s president to flee.

A U.S. official confirmed a media report that the airport at Manas, including the U.S. air base, was closed at 8 p.m. local time and would reopen 12 hours later.

Located about 19 miles northwest of the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, the base is a major transportation hub for U.S. troops and supplies going to Afghanistan. The closure will delay some troops headed to Afghanistan, but the U.S. military is looking into other ways to get them there, a Defense Department official said.

From RIA Novosti:  Russian airbase in Kyrgyzstan has been put on high alert in the wake of an unrest in the Central Asian country that left at least 47 people killed and some 400 injured, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry said.

"Due to the unrest in Bishkek military servicemen at the airbase in Kant have been put on high alert. Permission to leave the base has been restricted for the servicemen," he said. …

The source added that no incidents have so far been registered near the Russian airbase, which is located some 20 kilometers (12 miles) outside Bishkek.

The airbase in Kant was opened in 2003. Some 250 Russian officers and 150 enlisted personnel from Russia’s 5th Air Army are deployed at the base, as well as Su-25 Frogfoot strike aircraft and Mi-8 transport helicopters.  (photo: Vlasimir Pirogov/Reuters)

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