Ethnic violence that is sweeping through the central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan has not affected a key transport base for U.S. troops traveling to and from Afghanistan, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday.
The refueling and troop transport operations in Manas, Kyrgyzstan, continue "unabated" by ethnic riots in the southern part of the country, Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan told CNN.
The violence in the south of Kyrgyzstan is about 200 miles from the Manas transit base, located near the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, Lapan said. The base has not added any additional security measures, he said.
Refueling operations resumed late last week after a temporarily halt while the United States negotiated new fuel contracts with the interim government, he said.
Lapan said the U.S. military is examining what options it can provide for humanitarian assistance in connection with the violence in the south.
The transit center in Manas was opened in 2001, when U.S. military operations in Afghanistan began.
Geologists working with the Pentagon have found vast reserves of untapped minerals in Afghanistan that could be worth $1 trillion, the New York Times reports.
U.S. government officials told the Times the discovery could be enough to drastically alter the economy in the war-torn country and perhaps the actual war itself. The Times cites an internal Pentagon memo, which says the country could become the "Saudi Arabia of lithium."
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A militant commander was one of several insurgents killed in a two-day
offensive last week in eastern Afghanistan, NATO's International Security
Assistance Force said on Monday.
Fazil Subhan, a Haqqani network commander, was killed in Khost province. The network has links to al Qaeda and the Taliban.
The network claimed responsibility with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan
militants for a December suicide attack against intelligence officers in Khost.
Pakistani officials have rejected allegations that their country's powerful intelligence agency still supports the Taliban. Those allegations came from a Harvard academic, who authored a report for the London School of Economics. In his report, Matt Waldman accuses the ISI of providing "sanctuary and very substantial financial, military and logistical support" for the Taliban. Pakistan's military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas (pictured above) rejected the report as "speculative," saying it did not have "a credible source or authenticity." FULL STORY
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, say they've secured backing from local leaders for an upcoming military operation in the province. READ MORE