DUSHANBE, July 6, 2012, Asia-Plus - The United States considers Tajikistan as an alternative for Kyrgyzstan in terms of deploying its military installation, Transit Center at Manas (formerly Mans Air Base), which is currently deployed at Mans International Airport, near Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

Mr. Dan Burton, head of a U.S. bipartisan Congressional delegation, remarked this at a meeting with journalists in Dushanbe on July 6.

According to him, it is connected with the fact that the Transit Center will be closed after withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan in 2014.  The question of establishment of a new center to support international efforts to provide security and withstand extremist and terrorist groups will arise.

We will recall that opened on December 16, 2001, the Transit Center at Manas International Airport is a transportation and logistics hub established to support international efforts to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.

Mr. Burton noted that the United State continued providing technical assistance to Tajikistan with controlling its common border with Afghanistan.  The question is of increasing this assistance after 2014.

Tajikistan plays an important role in providing regional security, he noted.

Located in the heart of Central Asia, Tajikistan plays a key role in regional processes and it should participate in the Silk Road project, because logistics support for NATO forces in Afghanistan is carried out via Tajik territory, U.S. congressman said.

A U.S. bipartisan Congressional delegation led by Representative Dan Burton (Republican from Indiana) and Representative Greg Meeks (Democrat from New York) visited Tajikistan on July 5-6.  The delegation also visited Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and will travel next to Uzbekistan as part of a tour of Central Asia to examine regional trade, democracy, rule of law, security, and development issues.  While in Tajikistan, the delegation met with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon to discuss U.S.-Tajik bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest.

Representative Dan Burton represents the Fifth Congressional District of Indiana and serves as a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia. His subcommittee conducts oversight of key aspects of U.S. foreign policy in Central Asia. Representative Meeks is the subcommittee’s top ranking Democratic Member.