Just as the Obama administration is gearing up for an increased presence in Afghanistan, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev of Kyrgyzstan announced the closure of a U.S. air base located near the city of Bishkek:
The announcement was made after news reports of a multimillion-dollar aid package from Russia to Kyrgyzstan.
The United States pays about $63 million a year for use of the base and employs more than 320 Kyrgyz citizens there, Petraeus said. The base has been in operation since December 2001 under U.N. mandate
The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported January 30 that Russia would offer Kyrgyzstan a $300 million, 40-year loan at an annual interest rate of 0.75 percent, and write off $180 million of Kyrgyz debt.
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