- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The U.S. airbase that has been the main transit point for military personnel and cargo headed to Afghanistan for more than a decade is officially closed for business.

Officials in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, expect all military personnel to be gone by the end of the week.

U.S. officials handed over keys to the Manas Transit Center to Kyrgyz authorities Tuesday, Agence France Presse reported. 

The commander of the base, Col. John Millard, said more than 5.5 million coalition troops have stepped foot on the base since 2001, AFP reported.

The catalyst for the base closure was the refusal by the Manas Transit Center to renew its lease. Kyrgyzstan has sought closer ties to Moscow, which also has its own base in the country.

The new hub for U.S. troops and cargo headed to Afghanistan will be through an air base in Romania, AFP reported.

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• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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