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Kyrgyz National Guard battalion deployed to former US Manas Airbase

July 20, 2015, 12:27 UTC+3 BISHKEK

The US base was closed a year ago after the Kyrgyz authorities said foreign military was unwanted on the territory of a civilian airport

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Kyrgyz military

Kyrgyz military

© TASS/Donat Sorokin

BISHKEK, July 20. /TASS/. A new military unit of Kyrgyzstan’s National Guard has opened on Monday on the territory of the former US airbase at Bishkek’s Manas airport.

"We will push forward with the military reform," Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev said at the ceremony. "The military personnel are provided with modern military equipment, and more equipment and ammunition will be delivered soon." He noted that "such steps boost the country’s defense capacity and security."

A rapid reaction battalion of Kyrgyzstan’s National Guard is now deployed on the territory of the former US airbase.

The US Air Force base at Manas was opened in December 2001. Originally it accommodated military personnel and equipment from several member-countries of the anti-terrorist coalition, which were engaged in efforts to support Operation Enduring Freedom conducted by the United States in Afghanistan. In subsequent years, the backbone of the group was composed of the US Air Force personnel. The base was closed a year ago due to the decision of the Kyrgyz authorities. Bishkek said the move stemmed from its unwillingness to have foreign military on the territory of its civilian airport and announced plans to build a major logistics hub in Manas.

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