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March 2, 2009

Kyrgyzstan and Manas Air Base

Late last month, the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan voted - by an overwhelming margin - to terminate their lease to the United States of Manas Air Base, and required the Americans to vacate the base within six months. The vote followed closely on the heels of an earlier announcement that Russia would be providing over $2 billion in financial aid to Kyrgyzstan. Manas is a crucial air base for operations in and around Afghanistan, and U.S. officials remain hopeful that there may still be room for negotiation. The majority of Kyrgyzstan's population appears to have little concern about the closure, instead focusing on their own struggles to get by, as migrant work in Russia has recently evaporated, and jobs at home in Kyrgyzstan are hard to come by. News photos from Kyrgyzstan are few and far between - that said, here is a collection of recent scenes from festivals, rural life, and Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan. (25 photos total)

A Kazakh hunter flies his golden eagle during a hunting festival "Solburun" in the village of Bokonbayevo, Kyrgyzstan, some 300km outside Bishkek on October 18, 2008. (VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images)

Kazakh hunters wearing national clothes hold golden eagles during a hunting festival "Solburun" on October 18, 2008. (VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images) #

A falconer who hunts with a Golden Eagle, holds his bird during a festival of hunting traditions some 320 km (198 miles) from the capital Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008. (AP Photo/Igor Kovalenko) #

A hunting bird, seen, during a festival of Kyrgyzstan hunting traditions on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008. (AP Photo/Igor Kovalenko) #

A hunting falcon catches a hare during a hunting competition in a Kyrgyz village of Bokonbayevo on October 18, 2008. (REUTERS/Vladimir Pirogov) #

Kyrgyz herdsmen tend to a herd of sheep on the foothills of the Ala-Too mountain near the village of Voenno-Antonovka, some 15 km outside Bishkek, on January 8, 2009. (VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images) #

Kyrgyz men watch a traditonal central Asian equestrian sport of Kok-Boru during at "The Chabysh" festival in the mountain village of Korgondu-Bulak, 330 km outside Bishkek on November 02, 2008. (VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images) #

Mounted Kyrgyz men play Kok-Boru during "The Chabysh" festival in the mountain village of Korgondu-Bulak on November 02, 2008. (VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images) #

Horsemen scuffle in front of a goal as one side attempts to score during the Kyrgyzstan's Kok-boru Presidential Cup in the capital Bishkek March 18, 2008. Kok-boru, or goat grabbing, is a traditional Central Asian horse game that is considered Kyrgyzstan's national sport. Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan each sent four teams to part in the cup. (REUTERS/Vladimir Pirogov) #

A cow stands in a field near the Kyrgyz village of Chayek, 320 km from Bishkek, on January 25, 2009. (VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images) #

An Orthodox priest pours water on a believer as part of celebrations of the Epiphany holiday 90km outside of Bishkek in Sosnovka on January 19, 2009. (VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Kyrgyz man kisses a woman during "The Chabysh" festival of the traditional central Asian sport of Kok-Boru in the mountain village of Korgondu-Bulak on November 02, 2008. (VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images) #

A hunting dog bites a chained wolf during the hunting festival "Solburun" in the village of Bokonbayevo, Kyrgyzstan on October 18, 2008. (VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images) #

A chained wolf retailates agains two hunting dogs during the "Solburun" festival in the village of Bokonbayevo, Kyrgyzstan on October 18, 2008. (VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images) #

Locals drive past Manas airport, the U.S. air base near Bishkek February 4, 2009. (REUTERS/Vladimir Pirogov (KYRGYZSTAN) #

A man tends to sheep under a watchtower at the US air base 30 km outside of Bishkek in Manas on February 4, 2009. (VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images) #

US troops guard the main access checkpoint to the air force base 30 km outside of Bishkek in Manas, Kyrgyzstan on December 18, 2008. (VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images) #

A ground staff member directs a C-130 Hercules at Manas Air Base near Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek, February 13, 2009. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov (KYRGYZSTAN) #

US soldiers arriving from Afghanistan sit inside a plane at the US airbase 30 km outside Bishkek in Manas on February 26, 2009. The soldiers who had been serving with ISAF forces in Afghanistan made a layover on their way to Germany. (VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images) #

A serviceman enters a building with direction signs on the wall at the U.S. Manas air base near Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on February 12, 2009. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov (KYRGYZSTAN) #

In this file photo, a U.S. serviceman stands in front of S-135 aircraft during American-French joint exercises at the U.S. Manas Air Base, located near the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek on April 14, 2007. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze,file) #

U.S. air force personnel member walks by a U.S. plane at the Manas air base in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009. (AP Photo/Azamat Imanaliev) #

The Kyrgyz parliament meets to vote on the fate of the US aribase in Manas, in Bishkek on February 19, 2009. The Kyrgyz parliament voted overwhelmingly to close a US military base on its territory that serves as a key supply route for coalition forces in neighbouring Afghanistan. (VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Kyrgyz woman washes her clothes by hand on the street in the Ak-Ordo region on the outskirts of Bishkek on February 22, 2009. Indifferent to a row over the US airbase in their country, the mass of poor struggling to cope on the fringes of Bishkek reflect the gulf between rulers and ruled in ex-Soviet Central Asia. (VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images) #

Kyrgyz boys carry buckets to a well in the Ak-Ordo region on the outskirts of Bishkek on February 22, 2009. (VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images) #
An interactive Google Map of Manas Airfield, north of Kyrgyzstan's capital of Bishkek. View Larger Map #



 
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