Moscow Moves to Counter U.S. Power in Central Asia

Russia is reasserting its role in Central Asia with a Kremlin push to eject the U.S. from a vital air base and a Moscow-led pact to form an international military force to rival NATO — two moves that potentially complicate the new U.S. war strategy in Afghanistan.

By ALAN CULLISON and YOCHI J. DREAZEN
The Wall Street Journal

On Wednesday, Russia announced a financial rescue fund for a group of ex-Soviet allies and won their agreement to form a military rapid reaction force in the region that it said would match North Atlantic Treaty Organization standards. That came a day after Kyrgyzstan announced, at Russian urging, that it planned to evict the U.S. from the base it has used to ferry large numbers of American troops into Afghanistan. Russia said the base may house part of the planned new force instead.

The steps mark Russia’s most aggressive push yet to counter a U.S. military presence in the region that it has long resented. They pose a challenge for the administration of President Barack Obama, which sees Afghanistan as its top foreign-policy priority and is preparing to double the size of the American military presence there.

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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1233780
27003448977.html

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WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US military on Wednesday faced the prospect of a costly logistical headache trying to move troops and supplies into Afghanistan, after Kyrgyzstan moved to close a major US air base that served as a vital hub.

The closure would place a strain on US supply lines at a time when President Barack Obama is preparing to nearly double the 36,000-strong force in the country and amid increasing attacks on supply routes through Pakistan.

About 15,000 people and 500 tonnes of cargo move in and out of the Manas air base every month supporting the NATO force in Afghanistan as well as the Afghan army, the Defense Department said on Wednesday.

“It’s of concern but it’s certainly not a disaster,” William Nash, a retired Army general, told AFP.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090205/w
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Related:
Russia says it wants to help US in Afghanistan

American Troops In Afghanistan Out On A Limb?

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One Response to “Moscow Moves to Counter U.S. Power in Central Asia”

  1. smellytourist Says:

    Biden’s “testing” prediction continues coming to fruition…http://smellytourist.wordpress.com/2009/02/03/bidens-prediction-comes-true/

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