This week's visit to Pravda gives us this lament about the fact that the United States is not making appropriate payments to the government of Uzbekistan for the use of the Khanabad air-base there where 1300 Americans are stationed to assist in operations in Afghanistan.
Among other things Americans are not paying for is security or infrastructure for the base itself (now provided by Uzbeks) or environmental damage, according to an Uzbek foreign ministry spokesman. It is unclear from the Pravda article whether such requests for payment were ever formally agreed to (or even informally agreed to), or precisely how much money we're talking about.
In addition, this being Pravda, there's no point in seeking comment from the Americans, who might have some receipt or something... or perhaps, might reveal that there was an agreement in kind for something else, such as for training of Uzbekistan's security forces in how to quell riots, political protests and that sort of thing...
Still, given how the need to reduce or eliminate taxes on large estates is the principal American value, we'll just have to continue conducting the war on terror on the cheap. Das vindanya...
The Uzbeks have never wanted money for the base. Seems to be they thought there was a quid pro quo--that they'd let us use the base and they'd never be criticized by us. The only condition they ever put on the base in the first place was that it wouldn't be used for combat and that it initially was only to last as long as operations went on in Afghanistan.
What they're sweeping under the rug is that they have been talking to the Pentagon about establishing a price for long-term, continued use of the base. After all, we have sunk a ton of money into improving the place (for which we should perhaps bill them given their recent change of heart).
Posted by Nathan at July 9, 2005 2:05 PM
What is a country whose leaders are all too ready to boast their Christian beliefs doing dealing with Uzbekistan anyway? Not that the UK is any better having apparently trained their troops in marksmanship just before they killed 500 citizens. The programme was called 'Managing Defence in a Democracy'. Who says the Ministry of Defence lacks a sense of humour?
Posted by euro-ron at July 11, 2005 7:35 AM