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New Kyrgyzstan leader questions U.S. bases

Kyrgyzstan's newly elected president on Monday questioned the continued presence of U.S. troops at a military base they have used since the war to oust the Taliban in Afghanistan.
/ Source: Reuters

This country's newly elected president on Monday questioned the continued presence of U.S. troops at a military base they have used since the war to oust the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Kurmanbek Bakiyev's comments were in line with those of other former Soviet Central Asian countries that last week called for U.S. troops to fix a date for their departure from their bases.

“Afghanistan has held presidential and parliamentary elections and therefore the situation there has stabilized,” Bakiyev told a news conference shortly after election authorities announced he had won a landslide victory in a presidential poll on Sunday.

“Thus, right now, we may proceed with the issue of whether it is expedient to still deploy military forces of the United States (in Kyrgyzstan). Time will show when and how it (withdrawal) happens,” said Bakiyev.

Washington has used Central Asia as a springboard for military operations in Afghanistan, launched after the hijacked airliner attacks in the United States in September 2001.

It was granted airbases by Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as overflight permits by Kazakhstan, and has shown no sign of wanting to give the bases up.