Central Asia: March 30, 2002


Manas air base in Kyrgyztan now has 1500 troops from United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain and South Korea. Eventually, there will be 3,000 foreign troops manning the base. Only a few warplanes (six US Navy F-18s arriving next month, six French Mirages operating since March 2nd) and a lot of non-combat aircraft are operating from the base. The purpose of the base is to allow a lot of countries to make a military contribution to the war on terrorism without getting in the way. The French, for example, will refuse to perform bombing missions if they feel there might be unfavorable political repercussions. Most nations don't have the military capability to really make a difference, but it's considered diplomatically advantageous to get as many nations involved in the war as possible.


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