The unrest in Kyrgyzstan could complicate U.S. efforts in Afghanistan, according to some reports Wednesday.
“The instability highlights both Kyrgyzstan's vital role for the U.S. war in Afghanistan and the compromises both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have made to deal with an increasingly unsavory regime,” writes Dan Murphy of the Christian Science Monitor.
Deirdre Tynan and Kadyr Toktogulov of the Wall Street Journal write: “The U.S. military base outside the Kyrgyz capital is vital to the expanding American war effort in Afghanistan. Most of the U.S. troops deploying to Afghanistan first pass through Manas, which also handles the majority of the American fuel, food and ammunition shipments to the war zone.
“Last month alone, more than 50,000 U.S. and coalition troops passed through Manas en route to Afghanistan, according to military officials at the base. More than 200,000 troops have deployed to Afghanistan through Manas since last October.”
Clifford J. Levy of the New York Times says: “The upheaval raised questions about the future of an important American air base that operates in Kyrgyzstan in support of the NATO mission in nearby Afghanistan. American officials said that as of Wednesday evening the base was functioning normally.
“It also posed a potential embarrassment for the Obama administration, which angered the Kyrgyz opposition last summer by courting [Kyrgyzstan President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in an ultimately successful attempt to reverse his decision to close the base.”
Some other news reports and perspectives:
- Bing West (New York Times): “How to save Afghanistan from Karzai”
- Fred Kaplan (Slate): “Has Karzai gone crazy?"
- Tony Blankley (Washington Times): “Obama diplomacy has torpedoed the Karzai presidency”