The United States and Russia are working on a groundbreaking deal that would make Moscow the chief fuel supplier to the US-operated Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan. Under the arrangement, Russia would become a “third partner” at Manas, a key logistics hub for US and NATO military operations in Afghanistan.
As southern Kyrgyzstan continues to smolder, the country’s provisional government is thinking about opening a new income stream. Provisional leaders are seeking to slap a value-added tax of 12 percent, plus excise duties, on fuel imports destined for the Manas Transit Center.
The Northern Distribution Network (NDN), a Europe-to-Asia resupply route for US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was promoted by its architects as an economic development vehicle that could promote cohesion among Central Asian states. Reality is proving vastly more problematic than American war planners anticipated, however.
A tax dispute is disrupting operations at the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz interim government is charging tax on fuel imports for Manas, and the US government is refusing to pay, in what has the potential to develop into a major diplomatic standoff between Bishkek and Washington.
The more digging that takes place around Red Star Enterprises Ltd and Mina Corp, companies at the center of a US congressional probe into Pentagon contracting practices in Kyrgyzstan, the murkier the companies’ corporate structures and affiliations get.
The former head of Manas International Airport in Kyrgyzstan is facing a corruption charge in connection with the sale of Aalam Services, the main fuel depot at Manas Airport, to Manas Aerofuels, a company allegedly controlled by Maxim Bakiyev, the son of the Central Asian nation’s ousted president.
Stonewalling looms as an issue in a US congressional investigation into Pentagon contracting practices at the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan. Congressional investigators appear to be receiving only a bare minimum of cooperation with various requests for documents.