USA provides planes to Kyrgyzstan

 RIA Novosti

The United States government has given four An-2 Colt transport aircraft to Kyrgyzstan to tighten its border control, the Central Asian state’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday. “Kyrgyzstan is a valued partner in the Global War on Terrorism, and these substantial investments demonstrate continued U.S. efforts to increase the aviation capabilities of its armed forces to perform counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics missions,” the ministry quoted U.S. officials as saying at the ceremony.

The Russian-made aircraft were donated to Kyrgyzstan as part of the Aviation Interdiction Project, implemented in the former Soviet state in 2000. The U.S. embassy in Kyrgyzstan said Washington has already provided over $20 million to the country under the project, including Mi-8 [Hip transport] helicopters, An-2 planes, fueling facilities, aviation spare parts, equipment, and building and infrastructure support. Kyrgyzstan is located on the “drug route” leading from Afghanistan, the world’s largest opium producer, to Russia and further to Europe. The U.S. has also leased an air base at the Manas international airport, in the south of the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, since December 2001 as part of a U.S.-led anti-terrorism operation in Afghanistan. About 1,000 U.S. servicemen and several military transport aircraft are deployed there. Analysis

 USA since the end of the Cold War has as a strategic aim the cultivation of strong ties in the Central Asian region. Kyrgyzstan is a country that is the most well connected state entity with USA and has lessen its ties with Russia. Therefore the promotion of the bilateral relations between USA-Kyrgyzstan will continue, and probably tighten up whenever the vast reserves of natural gas, hidden in the state’s territory, are exploited over the coming decade.

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