Upheaval in Kyrgyzstan can hamper US military supply to Afghanistan

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New York, Apr 8 (ANI): The American military supply line into nearby Afghanistan via Kyrgyzstan could be threatened after bloody protests erupted in capital Bishkek and other parts of the country, forcing the President of that country to flee.

By early Thursday morning, opposition officials occupied many government buildings in Bishkek, and were demanding that President Kurmanbek Bakiyev sign a formal letter of resignation.

Bakiyev has issued no public remarks since the protests began, and it was unclear whether he was still in the country after he left the capital on a presidential plane.

The instability called into question the fate of a critical American air base in the country, The New York Times reports.

An American official said late on Wednesday that flights into the base at Manas had been suspended. Lt. Cmdr. Bill Speaks, a spokesman for the United States Central Command, said late on Wednesday that some troops and equipment scheduled to transit from Manas to Afghanistan, were likely to be delayed because of the government upheaval and that the military was preparing to use other routes.

Opposition politicians, speaking on state television after it was seized by protesters, said they had taken control of the government after a day of violent clashes that left more than 40 people dead and more than 400 wounded.

A coalition of opposition parties said a former Foreign Minister Roza Otunbayeva would head a transition government. "Power is now in the hands of the people's government," she said in a televised address on Wednesday evening.

The same opposition leaders were angered last spring when the Obama administration officials courted Bakiyev in an ultimately successful attempt to retain rights to the military base, Manas, which used to supply troops in Afghanistan.

Russia had offered Bakiyev a sizable amount in new aid, which the United States interpreted as an effort to persuade him to close the base in order to limit the American military presence in Russia's sphere of influence.

After vowing to evict the Americans last year, Bakiyev reversed course once the administration agreed to pay much higher rent for the base.

The American attitude toward Mr. Bakiyev ruffled opposition politicians in Kyrgyzstan, who said it was shameful for the United States to stand for democratic values in the developing world while maintaining an alliance with him. (ANI)

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