BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) — The U.S. says its air base in Kyrgyzstan has contributed more than $1.4 billion to the struggling Central Asian nation's economy in its 10 years of operations.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Manas Transit Center, U.S. Ambassador Pamela Spratlen said the base had proved instrumental in fighting terrorism in nearby Afghanistan
Manas has ferried 2 million U.S. troops into and out of Afghanistan over the past decade and is a base for the air tankers that refuel jet fighters during operations.
The presence of the base has been a frequent source of annoyance to many residents.
President Almazbek Atambayev said Kyrgyzstan would respect the current base lease, which lasts until June 2014, but that it might not be extended.