US troop flights at Kyrgyz base suspended: Military

Last Updated: Saturday, April 10, 2010 - 09:41

Washington: The US military has suspended troop flights out of its base in Kyrgyzstan and will instead transport forces to and from Afghanistan via Kuwait, military officials have said.

Amid political upheaval in the strategic Central Asian nation, US commanders at the Manas air base decided late Friday "to temporarily divert military passenger transport flights," Major John Redfield, a spokesman for US Central Command, said in an e-mail.

Decisions on continuing other military flights "will be made on a case-by-case basis”, he said.

The suspension came after the Americans spotted armoured vehicles on the civilian side of the airport, a defence official said.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said details were still unclear and there was no sign of tensions with the civilian authorities at Manas, a crucial hub for the NATO-led war in Afghanistan.

The suspension of troop flights -- which were diverted to a US base in Kuwait -- would remain in effect for at least 72 hours, the official said, but aerial tanker aircraft were continuing to use the runway.

Kyrgyzstan`s interim leader yesterday offered President Kurmanbek Bakiyev safe passage out of the country, but only if he first resigns.


First Published: Saturday, April 10, 2010 - 09:41

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