Afghanistan — Afghan Supply Mission Continues at Manas

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2010 — Oper­a­tions at the tran­sit cen­ter at Man­as Air Base, Kyr­gyzs­tan, are delayed but have not been adverse­ly affect­ed the sup­ply mis­sion in Afghanistan, U.S. offi­cials said today.
Anti-gov­ern­ment pro­tes­tors said they have over­thrown the gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Kur­man­bek Bakiev and are in con­trol of the cap­i­tal of Bishkek. The unrest in the coun­try has not affect­ed oper­a­tions at Man­as, offi­cials said.

“Cur­rent­ly there are lim­it­ed oper­a­tions at Man­as Air­field,” said Bryan Whit­man, a Pen­ta­gon spokesman. “Our sup­port to Afghanistan con­tin­ues and has not been seri­ous­ly affect­ed, and we are hope­ful that we will be able to resume full oper­a­tions soon.”

The events in the cap­i­tal have not affect­ed U.S. forces in and around Man­as – a major sup­ply port for the U.S. and NATO effort in Afghanistan. In fact, act­ing Prime Min­is­ter Roza Otun­baye­va said dur­ing a Bishkek news con­fer­ence that the sta­tus quo on Man­as will remain in place.

“We are get­ting through oper­a­tional chan­nels that the unrest seems to have set­tled down,” offi­cials said on back­ground. “There is no imme­di­ate threat to U.S. forces in the coun­try.”

Last year, the Kyr­gyz par­lia­ment vot­ed against the U.S. and NATO pres­ence at the air base, through which almost all U.S. per­son­nel going into or out of Afghanistan tran­sit. At that time, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates said the base was impor­tant to the U.S. trans­porta­tion effort, “but not essen­tial.” The Unit­ed States rene­go­ti­at­ed the agree­ment with Kyr­gyzs­tan, and the Amer­i­can effort remained in place.

While Man­as eas­es oper­a­tions, oth­er ele­ments of the U.S. trans­porta­tion net­work to Afghanistan are unaf­fect­ed, Whit­man said. “We inten­tion­al­ly have mul­ti­ple ways to be able to sup­ply our forces,” he added.

State Depart­ment offi­cials said they con­tin­ue to watch the polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in Kyr­gyzs­tan.

(Don­na Miles of Amer­i­can Forces Press Ser­vice con­tributed to this sto­ry.)

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)