Long-Term Bases in Afghanistan

by Nathan Hamm on 3/16/2005 · 2 comments

General Richard Myers will soon make a recommendation on permanent military bases in Afghanistan:

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Richard Myers told reporters in Kabul that the United States enjoys good relations in Afghanistan and Central Asia. He said he will soon make a recommendation to President Bush about building permanent U.S. bases in Afghanistan.

“At this point we are in discussions with the Afghan government in terms of our long-term relationship, remembering that for the moment, the coalition has work to do here, the United States has work to do here, and that is where our focus is right now,” he said.

The story mentions that John McCain has advocated permanent Afghanistan bases in the past. Man, that guy’s been hitting a lot of my pet concerns lately.

A permanent Afghan base is something I’ve opined on as being a good idea for a little while now (most recently here). It would give us a tremendous lever with the Uzbek government, which I’m fairly convinced, likes the Khanabad base primarily because of the rent we pay on it.

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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Laurence March 17, 2005 at 9:19 am

Yes an Afghan base would be interesting, but I don’t think the US is paying any rent at all for Khanabad, you can check this, but I believe use of the air base was provided free as a gift by the Uzbek government to support US operations in Afghanistan.

Uzbekistan has geopolitical reasons ro want a US presence, to balance other powers including Russia and China, in order to maintain a little independent wriggle-room…

Nathan March 17, 2005 at 9:59 am

Hmmm.. can’t find what I was looking for, so maybe you’re right. I know that the 2002 aid package that was so often criticized for being so big was about half payments for Karshi — not what we traditionally consider aid.

If geopolitics are a major concern though, having an option to move all operations to Afghanistan is still a powerful lever.

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