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Asked about tensions over the base, Mr. Gates said: “I think what is important for the people of Kyrgyzstan to understand is that our use of Manas is in support of a larger war on terror in which Kyrgyzstan is an ally of virtually every other nation on Earth. We are all working to try and prevent a resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and our use of Manas is one way in which Kyrgyzstan can play a very important and constructive role in cooperation with many other nations, just not the United States.” Chinese military and security forces were in Kyrgyzstan last week as part of a counterterrorism exercise held as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the grouping of Central Asian states, Russia and China that Beijing is using to expel U.S. forces from the region.

Senate hold Pentagon officials say Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has derailed the promotion and the career of Col. Marc Warren, one of the Army’s most capable lawyers, over false accusations related to the abuse of inmates at Abu Ghraib prison.

“It’s a real tragedy, and an abuse of the Senate old boy unwritten system,” a Pentagon official said. “An officer with highest integrity who commanded great respect in line and legal communities suffered for something with which he had no dealings.” Col. Warren worked with the special operations forces in highly sensitive positions, and word of his retirement spread quickly among the commando community. Investigators cleared Col. Warren of all claims he was involved in professional impropriety related to the Iraqi prison.

Still, Mr. Levin held up his nomination to promotion to brigadier general since 2005, and Col. Warren this week decided to retire. His last position was in the office of the Judge Advocate General for the Army. He was the staff judge advocate for Combined Joint Task Force 7 in Iraq and was involved in overseeing detention and interrogation policies.

A Levin spokesman could not be reached for comment.