In a move that could strain Washington’s relationship with Kyrgyzstan, a key Central Asian ally, the Pentagon opted November 3 to award a new fuel-supply contract to a company that is already at the center of a US congressional probe.
The holder of the main fuel-supply contract at the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan, a critical logistics hub for the US and NATO war effort in Afghanistan, operates in a “thick fog of mystery,” according to a report published by the Washington Post.
Representatives of the Russian energy giant Gazprom confirm that the company is poised to participate in a joint venture to supply fuel to the US-run Manas Transit Center, a key logistics hub for US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
As talks to shape Kyrgyzstan’s next government get underway, the United States has fashioned a compromise fuel-supply arrangement that US officials hope will ensure American and NATO access to the Manas transit center outside Bishkek for at least two more years.
It appears that the US government is resolved to sticking with a competitive tender plan to cover future fuel supplies at the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan, despite a Kyrgyz provisional government preference to set up a joint venture involving a state-run entity and the Russian-state-run Gazprom conglomerate.
Heading into her September 24 meeting with US President Barack Obama, Kyrgyzstan’s provisional president, Roza Otunbayeva, told EurasiaNet.org in New York that she had a “bouquet of issues” she intended to raise. Sources familiar with US diplomatic thinking, meanwhile, billed the discussions as “a substantial meeting” and “not just a photo op.”
Jet is a one-and-a-half-year-old Harris hawk with a straightforward mission: to scare local birds away from runways at Manas International Airport outside of Bishkek. Employed by the US Air Force, operator of the Manas Transit Center, the hawk is a key component in the BASH (Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard) program, designed to stop birds from colliding with aircraft on takeoff or landing.
Red Star Enterprises Ltd. and Mina Corp, two companies at the center of a US congressional investigation into fuel contracting practices in Kyrgyzstan, have pledged to cooperate with investigators and have negotiated a document submission extension, according to a reliable source familiar with the investigation.
Three figures said to be associated with Red Star Enterprises Ltd. and Mina Corp have been subpoenaed by a US congressional committee that is investigating potential improper dealings concerning the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan.