<em>Guest Post by Win Monroe:</em> How Will Obama’s Troops Get to Afghanistan?


Win Monroe is a research intern at the New America Foundation/American Strategy Program.
Yesterday, Krygystan President Kurmanbek Bakiyev signed a bill ordering the closure of the US air base in Manas. The base, which helps transport 15,000 personnel and 500 tons of cargo a month for the war in Afghanistan, is the United States’ last major air base in Central Asia.
Krygstan’s decision to evict the United States coincides with the announcement of a massive Russian aid package to the country, though Russia denies any connection between the two events.
Just how important is the base to US operations in Afghanistan? An embassy inspection report from last year available on the State Department’s website explains:

At best, it would be much more expensive to support coalition operations from another venue. The conclusion: the annual infusion of circa $150 million of U.S. funding for programs in Kyrgyzstan (equivalent to almost five percent of Kyrgyzstan’s gross national product) is money well spent.

The report continues:

At present, all U.S. military forces moving in and out of Afghanistan transit through Manas, as does a significant amount of materiel. The presence of the base and the continuation of the conflict in Afghanistan are the essence of Kyrgyzstan’s strategic importance to the United States.

The timing couldn’t be worse. On Tuesday President Obama ordered 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates maintains that negotiations are still open with the Kyrgyzstan government, but a deal appears increasingly unlikely. Agreements have been made with Uzbekistan and Tajikstan for the transpiration of non-military NATO cargo, but not U.S. military personnel.
The Kyrgyzstan bill requires the withdrawal to be completed within 180 days. With few alternatives and the count down beginning, the future of the war in Afghanistan depends on the US finding a solution.

–Win Monroe


24 comments on “<em>Guest Post by Win Monroe:</em> How Will Obama’s Troops Get to Afghanistan?

  1. Richard says:

    A quick comment on the vote to close the base in Manas. Although the parliament voted to close the base at the request of Bakaiv, a formal notice needs to be provided to the US Embassy. No such diplomatic note has been delivered, to my knowledge, and the 180 days runs from that point in time.
    There is no doubt that the Manas base is important but other, more expensive, options exist. Keep in mind that some at the base think the $150 million was actually too little for the use of the base. That may be true, given the space it occupies. But, from a central asian political perspective, this was at worst a face saving gesture and at best a way to obtain significant funds. Guess where the money (either Russian or US) will go, by the way. The same place it has always gone.
    For the record, since 2006 I have lived and worked in Central Asia, based in Bishkek (and, no, I did not work for a US or US funded organization). I only just left and the Kyrgyz Republic is rapidly catching up to the corrupt standards of its neighbors while the economy goes south.
    Let’s not read too much into Bakaiv’s move to toss the US out while keeping the Russian AF base (15 k outside the city). It has nothing to do with anything except money in his and his son’s pockets. The jobs and money spent by those on and off the base, income from housing rentals – the list goes on – which actually benefit the local economy are of little or no concern to the “elected” officials of the country. If the funds were increased and offered to Tajikistan, we’d join the French there.
    When the diplomatic note arrives, I’ll believe it. Until then, the US needs to start looking around. As for Bakaiv – we shall see just how much of the funds promised by Moscow actually get delivered.


  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The situation is not being under estimated such that we are going to have to run away from that “little bunny”. given this reality, it is going to take longer to implement a full range of plans for everything the President is responsible for”
    Wanna try that again, in english, Morrow?


  3. DonS says:

    “I think Obama plans to transfer the political prisoners from Gitmo to Bagram.”
    . . . or at least an option. That went through my mind when I read this post at TL, specificaly related to hearing procedures at Bagram, but highlighting plans to upgrade this supposed nonpermanent facility to something much more durable.


  4. Robert M says:

    WOW!? A loony left troll, POA.
    President Obama is not the leader of the Knights in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. The situation is not being under estimated such that we are going to have to run away from that “little bunny”. given this reality, it is going to take longer to implement a full range of plans for everything the President is responsible for.


  5. Cee says:

    I think Obama plans to transfer the political prisoners from Gitmo to Bagram.
    Robert Perry wrote about Clinton making the same mistakes that Obama is making.
    I’m prepared to give him a bit more time before my heart has been hardened against him.


  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Change you can believe in.
    Until he won the election.
    Now, its change you can shove where the sun don’t shine.
    “I think you reserve impeachment for grave, grave breaches, and intentional breaches of the president’s authority,” -Obama
    Obama, by failing to call for the prosecution of George Bush, and the horned devil Dick Cheney, has already committed the very breaches of “presidential authority” that he deems as impeachable.
    Like I said, any further optimism about Obama is inexplicable, and anyone entertaining such optimism is in a deep state of denial. He is as criminal as George Bush, and if his actions so far are any indication, he will undoubtedly surpass Bush in his abuses of presidential power. Our Congress, and the American people, have demonstrated that we will quietly acquiesce to the White House exercising dictatorial powers, and will ignore high crimes and treason.


  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Looking Ahead” or Overlooking Crimes Against Humanity?
    Aaron Leonard
    Published: Tuesday, February 17, 2009
    I am a little stunned. I have been watching the news and listening to all the chatter about the scandal surrounding Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the alleged impropriety of people like Bill Richardson and Tom Daschle.
    Watching all this, I’ve been thinking, “Somewhere in Texas, former President George W. Bush is clearing brush in perfect peace.” Former Vice President Dick Cheney is likely out duck hunting in Wyoming, as if he has every right to be walking around free.
    Like we are supposed to forget their crimes.
    Such as the criminal neglect in August 2005 when over 1,300 people died during Hurricane Katrina. You remember Katrina: Cadavers floating in flood waters on prime time TV while Bush was on vacation, and Condoleezza Rice was shoe-shopping on Fifth Avenue.
    And the torture of prisoners sanctioned at the highest levels of government. Contests were held in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq to see who could scare the naked prisoners so badly by siccing dogs on them that they would urinate themselves. All this courtesy of policies and procedures initiated by Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo and Donald Rumsfeld.
    There was the detaining and kidnapping of people the U.S. government wanted to torture in what were called “extraordinary renditions,” sending them to Syria, Egypt and Uzbekistan among others.
    How about the so-called Terrorist Surveillance Program that swept up the conversations and communications of millions of people on unprecedented levels? All in fundamental violation of what is supposed to be the basic constitutional protection of the right of privacy.
    There was the spinning of the “weapons of mass destruction” myth as the causa belli for war in Iraq, with its staggering human toll and no end in sight. You remember Condoleezza Rice’s famous proclamation: “But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” It was a lie.
    With all this, we are supposed to rally behind President Barack Obama’s view that “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backward” when it comes to the crimes of Bush and company.
    Well, perhaps Obama can “look ahead” past all that, but I don’t think it ought to be true for the rest of us. Doing so effectively enshrines such behavior. The stain of it stays, and even if the U.S. government did not engage in such things again — and not renouncing it heightens the possibility that it will — it still becomes part of the overall ideology of what is acceptable. As John Ashcroft of all people noted when discussing the specifics of torture with his colleagues, “History will not judge this kindly.” I don’t think this waits on history. There is a need now to stand against this.
    Of course there is the view that there are more pressing matters. This is what the Democratic Party has been pushing in one iteration or another for years. Remember Sen. Chuck Schumer voting to confirm Attorney General Michael Mukasey even though Mukasey wouldn’t state the obvious: that waterboarding is torture? Or Speaker Nancy Pelosi taking “impeachment off the table” in the face of some of the most impeachable crimes in the history of the U.S? Their logic was: This was necessary for the Democrats to get back in power.
    If these issues are ignored to get Democrats into power, it shouldn’t be surprising that they ignore them once they have it. That is the Democratic leadership, but what about the rest of us?
    Aaron Leonard is a contributing columnist. E-mail responses to opinion@nyunews.com.


  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    An excerpt….
    Now we have the Democrats, and the assault on civil liberty continues. President Obama doesn’t want to hold Bush accountable for his crimes and violations of the Constitution, because Obama wants to retain the powers that Bush asserted. Even the practice of kidnapping people and transporting them to foreign countries to be tortured has been retained by President Obama.
    The civil liberties that Bush stole from us are now in Obama’s pocket.
    Will it turn out that we enjoyed more liberty under Bush than we will under Obama? At least the Republicans left us the Second Amendment. The Obama Democrats are not going to return our other purloined civil liberties, and they are already attacking the Second Amendment.
    Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D, IL) has introduced the Blair Holt Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009. As the British and Australians learned, once firearms are registered, the government knows where they are. The government’s next step is to confiscate the firearms.


  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Obama widens missile strikes inside Pakistan
    Raids aim at militants who play less-direct role in attacks on U.S. troops
    updated 9:14 p.m. PT, Fri., Feb. 20, 2009
    WASHINGTON – With two missile strikes over the past week, the Obama administration has expanded the covert war run by the Central Intelligence Agency inside Pakistan, attacking a militant network seeking to topple the Pakistani government.
    Continues at…


  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Iran not producing weapon-grade uranium: IAEA
    Atul Aneja
    DUBAI: Iran has not converted the low-grade uranium that it has produced into weapon-grade uranium, inspectors belonging to the International Atomic Energy Agency have said.
    The Austrian Press Agency quoted an IAEA expert as saying that the uranium substances that Iran has produced at its Natanz enrichment facility have been carefully recorded and remote cameras have been installed to supervise part of the stockpile.
    “If the Iranians intend to transport these uranium substances to a secret location for further processing, agency’s inspectors will find out,” he said.
    The expert added that “so far, Iran has carried out good cooperation with us in relevant verifications”.
    IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei has said that Iran has slowed down its uranium enrichment programme. He made this observation while submitting a report to the U.N. Security Council on Thursday. Iran has reportedly added only 164 centrifuges (which are used for enrichment) since December last, a comparatively slower rate than in the past.
    Continues at..
    February 21, 2009
    White House Calls for Urgent Action Against Iran
    Press Secretary Accuses Iran of Reneging on International Obligations
    Fresh off the charge that Iran had understated the amount of uranium it had enriched, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said today that Iran ‘continues to renege’ on its international obligations and called the nation an “urgent problem that has to be addressed.”
    Continues at….


  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The Cato Institute’s input…
    An excerpt….
    “Obama’s vision of American security requirements is nearly as grandiose as his predecessor’s. He sees security as indivisible, defining all instability as a danger to Americans that requires our management. He wants to preserve and expand our Cold War alliances, which long ago ceased to serve our security. He embraces Washington’s hubristic notion that our national security bureaucracy can “fix” failed states. Bush chose to fight “terror” by targeting “evil.” Obama plans to do so by attacking “hopelessness.”


  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Obama sides with Bush on Bagram detainees
    (AFP) – President Barack Obama’s administration has sided with predecessor George W. Bush on the rights of detainees at Bagram air base in Afghanistan, saying they cannot challenge their detention in US courts.
    In a two-sentence court filing Friday, the US Justice Department said “the government adheres to its previously articulated position” of denying habeas corpus rights to Bagram detainees, backing a similar decision by the Bush administration.
    Continues at….


  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Obama administration tries to kill e-mail case
    Obama administration continues Bush White House effort to kill e-mail case
    AP News
    Feb 21, 2009 14:33 EST
    The Obama administration, siding with former President George W. Bush, is trying to kill a lawsuit that seeks to recover what could be millions of missing White House e-mails.
    continues at….


  14. Marcia says:

    Perhaps even more importantly, – how would they get out?
    A Dien Bien Phu behind the lines stronghold was the last great lost battle by a modern army to guerrilla warfare and now one by one the bases are being closed around land-locked Afganistan.


  15. varanasi says:

    sheesh, poa. holbrooke only arrived stateside on thursday. as i understand it, he and hillary’s team will be writing a comprehensive south asian, strategy review, which will be released by the admin. soon.
    my sources say additional troops were immediately deployed to southern afghanistan, because NATO forces have lost control.


  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    No stated goals. No timeline. No exit strategy proposed.
    Change you can believe in.


  17. ... says:

    has obama articulated what the mandate is for sending troops to afganastan?? is this just one more stupid endless war from the masters of warmongering?


  18. varanasi says:

    ooops. last line, second word should read “Win.”


  19. varanasi says:

    poa: “reality” is in many respects a subjective term based upon nothing more than individual perspective.
    we might all agree on water being wet and snow being cold, but as evidenced by these threads, that may be about it.
    imo, one month in office is not nearly enough to demonstrate someone’s “true nature.”
    i’ve never seen you demonstrate a optimistic attitude about anything here at TWN. you are what most would call a “cynic.” not at all an indictment, merely an observation.
    …and will, the obama administration will find a way to deal with these logistics.


  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    This optimism about Obama is inexplicable to me. When will he have shown you people his true nature? You haven’t seen enough already?
    He’s a fraud, and he fed us a line of shit about “change”. How much snake oil are you willing to ingest before you wake up to reality?


  21. DonS says:

    How’s that winning hearts and mind campaign working out for you Barak?
    “US led coalition kills 13 Afghan civilians”
    I am so fed up with the US “projecting” force here, there and everywhere. I hope Obama has a conscience, which I believe he may well, as opposed to Bush who had none, or the ataviistic conscience of a privileged preppy. Anyway, the more Obama has to sign off on drone attacks/murders, the closer he may just get to the point of saying “enough, pointless”.


  22. JohnH says:

    Interesting that Steve is mum on the Freeman appointment…
    “The timing couldn’t be worse!?!” Actually, if the additional troops don’t get to Afghanistan, oh well! We don’t know what they were supposed to be doing there anyway! http://www.williampfaff.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=381


  23. Cee says:

    Well said. I was reading last night that we’ll have to move supplies in via Russia. Can you believe it???
    Obama seems to be making some good moves on other fronts
    A test for the Israeli lobby
    The pro-Israel wing of Obama’s supporters has generally been pretty happy with the state of the administration, from Hillary’s appointment to Dennis Ross’ role with Iran. George Mitchell, by downplaying Israeli settlements and stressing Iran policy yesterday, won raves from hawkish Jewish leaders.
    But former AIPAC Policy Director Steve Rosen sounded a more strident tone yesterday at Laura Rozen’s report of a new head for the National Intelligence Council, calling the reported choice of Chas Freeman “alarming.”
    He disapprovingly quotes Freeman, the former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, saying, “As long as the United States continues unconditionally to provide the subsidies and political protection that make the Israeli occupation and the high-handed and self-defeating policies it engenders possible, there is little, if any, reason to hope that anything resembling the former peace process can be resurrected” and decrying the consequences of “Israeli violence against Palestinians.”
    U.S. Congressional Delegation to Gaza
    February 20th, 2009
    It is no accident that John Kerry and two members of Congress visited Gaza today. Despite what Martin Indyk indicated when interviewed on NPR, Barack Obama, as they say in campaign ads, “approved this message.” Indyk tried to make a point of saying that Obama didn’t endorse the visit or initiate it. Maybe. Maybe not. But you can be damn sure if Obama didn’t want him to go he wouldn’t have gone.
    Indyk attempted to provide Bibi Netanyahu with a blueprint of how to do an end-run on Obama administration pressure to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He suggested that Bibi make negotiations with Syria a top priority in order to distract attention from the Israel-Palestine track.


  24. Jean says:

    The timing couldn’t be better. Let’s hope this puts a serious dent in Obama’s warmaking plans for Afghanistan. Good for Kyrgyzstan! Now if only we could manage to evict the US military from some of the other 700 some bases that it uses around the globe for launching its acts of terror and violence against foreign populations. The world would be a better and more peaceful place, and American taxpayer money could be put to far more productive and humane purposes.


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