RadioBDC Logo
| Listen Live
March 2, 2009 Permalink

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)
more photos
This page lists only comments and the first photo for the entry.
To see the entire entry, with all photographs, click here.

137 comments so far...

Impressive pictures, like ever... I'll talk about The Big Picture also in my thesis

Posted by March 2, 09 12:33 PM

Nice contrast between the people of Kyrgystan, the military personnel, and the parliament. Nice integration of the GoogleMaps as well, though I'm surprised it's not blacked out.

Posted by Ruth March 2, 09 12:34 PM

The men in #2 almost look elvish. Beautiful photos....

Posted by Rick March 2, 09 12:34 PM

The dog pictures are crazy.

Amazing pictures as usual.

Posted by Ben Wall March 2, 09 12:42 PM

Haha that rabbit in #5 could not look more blase.

"You're attacking me, Mr Hawk? Sigh. Very well."

Posted by EvilCornbread March 2, 09 12:45 PM

The difference between the life of the average Kyrgyz and the US military is light years apart. I have to wonder what we've done to outstay our welcome? It looks like very little for the people of the area.
Great thought-provoking pics as usual! Many thanks!!!

Posted by julietip March 2, 09 12:50 PM

Interesting that in #23, the clocks (on the monitors at the right and left) are one second off from each other...

Posted by DH March 2, 09 12:56 PM

I like how time is different on the left vs right in #23. Which millisecond was it, really?

Posted by Robin Camille March 2, 09 12:57 PM

Great pictures as always. I especially fell for #13 and #14 because of the ferocious. Sadly I must say I don't think it ended very well.. :(

Posted by Stefan Lindberg March 2, 09 01:03 PM

great shot of the c130

Posted by t March 2, 09 01:06 PM

#11 looks quite interesting for a religious happening :)

Posted by Markus March 2, 09 01:12 PM

#19 And people keep complaining who crowded and tiny airplanes sometimes are...

Posted by Simakuutio March 2, 09 01:33 PM

#11 Absolute WTF!

Posted by Orayo March 2, 09 01:34 PM

great pictures - the dog/wolve fight looks impressive.

thanks for the google maps integration - that's a really useful addon to your awesome blog!

cheers, florian

Posted by florian March 2, 09 01:40 PM

Girl far left on #11 is having WAY too much fun for being in ice cold water. I call shenanigans

Posted by Zag March 2, 09 02:05 PM

#2 is so Lord of the Rings!

Posted by RawheaD March 2, 09 02:08 PM

2, BEAUTIFUL, 13 is mean, but 14? VENGEANCE! And as for 20, if you ever needed confirmation that you're on the other side of the freaking PLANET...oy...

Posted by Liz March 2, 09 02:09 PM

Very nice. I would like to meet the woman emerging from the water in #11. She seems like she's enjoying herself waay too much.

Posted by Ryan March 2, 09 02:16 PM

#19 love it!
I had no idea before how it is like, being in a war aircraft, thanks for the picture!

Posted by Pompon March 2, 09 02:18 PM

#25 is pretty cool. At first you think it's just an average picture of boys walking down the street. Look again in the distance, and you realize how incredibly HUGE the mountains in the background are!

Posted by Paul March 2, 09 02:27 PM

Great pictures about a part of the world most of us know very little about. Keep up the good work. Thanks.

Posted by Sam March 2, 09 02:29 PM

Repulsive abuse of animals. The wolf looks like someone even clipped and pulled some of his teeth before chaining him to be attacked by hunting dogs. They have quite impressive bottom teeth normally. Great entertainment, wow. Not on my list of "to visit before I die".
Good photography though.

Posted by LottiP March 2, 09 02:31 PM

Yes, the girl in 11 caught my eye as well...she's just acting different than the rest, although you can see the older men also are wearing what appears to be just swim trunks, which would make her bikini not nearly as out of place.

#3 has some serious arm strength...those birds weigh like 20 lbs!

Posted by Dave March 2, 09 02:47 PM

Funny, but in picture no. 23 two clocks (on the left and on the right side of the room) display slightly different time. :)

Posted by Pawel March 2, 09 03:29 PM

@22: yeah, they normally use those "impressive bottom teeth" to rip apart the sheep those men live of. And since wolves have no real natural enemies, their population is only limited my human effort: that's why you don't even need a permit to shoot one if you get to see it, like you don't with crows.

Posted by danvolodar March 2, 09 03:42 PM

poor wolf :(

Posted by dezerter March 2, 09 03:42 PM

The chained wolf pictures are disgusting. Utterly disgusting.

Posted by Marx March 2, 09 04:04 PM

My thoughts so far :
- Kyrzygz (sorry for spelling) look life happy & simple people
- 'll be sorry, through, for the wolves that get bitten, horses than get ridden & rabbits that get eaten ... though they have at least SOME (un-endangered?) wild eagles & wolves (for post #25, have you wondered about the bears, or pack of dogs ?)
- French & US exercising ? when did the Kyrgyz allow THAT (and what kind, for the heavy protection #21 is wearing) ?
- In GMaps, I wonder what exactly is the black "pool" , at 330° (NNW) of the airfield, along with a 'blackish stream' seemingly running from the US base to a nearby river ?

Great pictures, as always ... sincerely hope the Boston Globes lives on forever to bring us those, usually stunning pictures & open up our minds, if not our hearts to the world

Posted by Huang Di March 2, 09 04:31 PM

Important strategic move by Moscow. Let's see what O's move will be. The game of chess soldiers on...

Posted by Spiegel March 2, 09 04:43 PM

'black pool' looks like kind of marsh to me. And 'blackish stream' goes south to another pond, and then even farther south to some more ponds near a city. It doesn't start at the base.

Posted by Mchl March 2, 09 04:44 PM

#26 (The Google map). This kind of imagery would have been highly classified and compartmentalized 30 years ago. Intelligence agencies of any nation would have paid a hefty price for access to this kind of photo-intelligence. Kinda strange that it's now offered free to the public.

Posted by Matt March 2, 09 04:45 PM

Excellent photographic material! The eagle hunting images are stunning. I love the pack of soldieres inside the aircraft. amazing! Good job on providing photography at it's best !

Posted by Cadu Lemos March 2, 09 04:55 PM

No pictures of Borat?

Also, does anyone know what type of plane those soldiers are all crowded into?

Posted by Taterman March 2, 09 05:15 PM

Wow what a contrast the poor people of Kyrgyz and the "better" people like the parliament sitting in their golden cage in front of their laptops...! Rather leave this unreal country as soon as possible and let them go back to the middle age and no longer support them...sad for the poor and hopefully bad for the government mafia..!
A shame how they treat animals but onetime they will get it back....!

Posted by Edoardo el Suizo March 2, 09 05:38 PM

Woman on left in #11 looks like she is about to have a religious experience, if ya know what I mean.

As for #14...I hope the wolf ate both those dogs!!

Posted by Anonymous March 2, 09 06:36 PM

Photo # 11 is totally surealist with the girl on the left that looks like Monica Belluci, the fabulous italian actress... what a scene!

Posted by jakilune March 2, 09 07:00 PM

American must go home. Kyrgyzstan dont need you. They killed russian worker and it was great mistake.

Posted by Ivan Taranov March 2, 09 07:22 PM

Actually, the 37th comment should have been written like this:

Americans should go home. Kyrgyzstan doesn't need you. Your troops once killed a Russian employee on the base and it was a grave mistake (i.e. a bit of paranoidal alertness and next to none respect to values like human life). Obviously, Kyrgyz people are not eager to feel themselves like that hare next to your hunting falcons.

Posted by Mithgol the Webmaster March 2, 09 10:33 PM

The big picture, indeed. The contrast of culture makes me see things in a larger sense. Thank you.

Posted by Shelley Noble March 2, 09 10:37 PM

To #33,
It looks like the inside of C-17 Globemaster.

Posted by Stephen March 2, 09 10:49 PM

#4 is stunning

Posted by Raghu March 2, 09 11:04 PM

Wow, extreme hottie in 11

Posted by Horse Mania March 3, 09 12:11 AM

Isn't Kok-Boru the game that Stallon plays in Afghanistan in the movie Rambo ?

Posted by Prasanna March 3, 09 02:00 AM

#19 Done that flight a few times. It's not as comfortable as it looks.

Posted by Christopher Medic March 3, 09 02:19 AM

#11, made up rituals can never get more irrational and perverse as this goes..

The dog and wolf scene reminds me of the state of the world and the States; taking a bite here and there when the opposite side is tied and helpless. I hope the get their bites back, one by one. Its good they are leaving, they bring destruction with them wherever they went.

Posted by Abathar March 3, 09 02:22 AM

Scumbags, animal cruelty.

The US will leave, taking their money with them, serves the country right.

Posted by JohnJones March 3, 09 02:51 AM

I don't know if killing of that Kyrgyz employee was justified (he allegedlly threatened somebody with a knife), but I know it isn't the reason the base is being closed. In Moscow alone several Kyrgyz migrant workers are being murdered every month just because they are foreigners, and nobody seems to care.

The Russians have literally bribed Kyrgyz government to force the closure:

Posted by Anonymous March 3, 09 03:27 AM

Numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are FANTASTIC!!!
Love eagles!!!

Posted by Giò March 3, 09 04:56 AM

Why is the time on the left side different then on the right side ?

But very impressive photos, especially with the dog and wolve.

Posted by Ruud March 3, 09 05:57 AM

Comment #28: That soldier wearing heavy protections in pic #21 is most likely the guy who operates the hose during refuelling of the aircraft. He's likely to get some fuel sprayed over him, and would probably prefer not to get life threatening burns because of that.

Posted by Magnus B March 3, 09 07:16 AM

girl in 11 is bangin'

Posted by sugar March 3, 09 07:32 AM

#11 wow...what were the odds of the photographer catching the one hot girl in Kyrgyzstan swimming during winter.

Posted by MarketGarden March 3, 09 08:14 AM

Photos 13 and 14 are disgusting: I find no motive for people in 2009 to tolerate such cruelty! And I'll never understand how some can just sit back and take photos!
A chained wolf is not natures do something! Too late for that wolf anyway..but still time for the next one!

Posted by monica March 3, 09 09:03 AM

The dog and wolf photo is not what it seems. The wolf is chained and its teeth have been blunted. Such monumental cruelty in the guise of "pagentry." Like children dropping a toad into a red-ant pile. Humans are an ignoble species.

Posted by Jimbo March 3, 09 09:40 AM

Comment #47: American troop killed Kyrgyz citizen on the territory of Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyz migrant workers are being murdered in Russia territory. No one forces them to go there. And main: killed employee was ethnic Russian.

Posted by Ivan Taranov March 3, 09 11:07 AM

Awesome, I love these photo collections that show daily life in far away places. Much better IMHO than the festival collections, although those are awesome as well. My favorites are the chained wolf pictures, some of the daily life photos like the woman cleaning her clothes and of course #11 :P.

Many foreign propagandist comments and native ignoramus's as always. Its a shame that wolf, brutal awesome animal, ended up chained up. Its laughable however that people who think the hunting photos are great turn around and shame the wolf photos. This isnt Massachusetts people. If your dinner depended on your sheep staying alive you would kill any wolf you saw

Posted by bob March 3, 09 12:16 PM

Also, just wanted to say the pictures of the eagle hunters? AWESOME. I need to get me one of those! I know people use falcons but eagles? thats badass.

Posted by bob March 3, 09 12:19 PM


Posted by rado March 3, 09 03:49 PM

Well, as a kyrgyz citizen I would say there are millions of poor americans out there as well and there is enough cruelty in the US as in Kyrgyzstan.So it's an issue of a debate on what is better or what is not but one thing is for sure that Kyrgyz Government does't give a damn about what 's on kyrgyz population's mind because that's the way it's there.I call it post soviet syndrom.You do not realize how
soviet way of life is still bugging even after USSR collapse.
Current kyrgyz president is becoming more like Vladimir Putin now and if you know he is pure old soviet style KGB master.That's where you should look in to otherwise russians will do whatever it takes to undermine US policy out there.
I'm not trying to judge America but when you go around the world with a wild foreign policy that you have do not wonder why countries like Kyrgyzstan closing american bases.Because US government is giving a reason to do so and that's what goes on someones hand like kyrgyz president K.Bakiev who is solely behind the air base shut down not kyrgyz population.Average kyrgyz is just trying to survive there without any help from their own govenment and why do you think kyrgyz population does't care about it?
Just give it some thought.
Do you wanna know what's the reason for the air base closure?
Try this

Posted by Ryskeldi Satke March 3, 09 03:50 PM

This collection was a great look at a forgotten area of the world, but there are two little mistakes.
#14 has a typo. "Agains" should be "Against," and in #21, the aircraft pictured is a KC-135, not an S-135.

Posted by Axeman89 March 3, 09 04:14 PM

Comment 55, so you do mean kyrgyz migrants are the only ones to blame for their own murders ,not russians.
Typical russian way of thinking that I see on hate crimes in Russia.Well how about
migrants in the US?
Are they getting killed on the regular basis because of their race in the United States?

The problem in Russia is totally connected to the russian government which is allowing nazi thugs and russian nationalist movement to operate such way and when someone like me gives a point ,average russians do not take it and they do justify killings on racial basis pointing that russians were killed long ago and now it's time to pay back.

Posted by Anonymous March 3, 09 04:20 PM

Sorry but nobody likes having US soldiers in their country. They're cowboys when they go to countries like that and treat the citizens like animals. And as far as the Russians bribing them. Sure they did. They out bribed the US, so stop whining. Besides, now we don't have to ship lobster and steak to Kyrgyzstan to feed our soldiers.

And you animal rights activist can back off too. They live with their land and animals more harmoniously then us, Americans by far.

And girl in number 11 is Russian, not Kyrgyz. I live in Moscow. I love Russian women. :-P

Posted by Pablo March 3, 09 04:31 PM

picture 11


Posted by giwrgos March 3, 09 07:59 PM

I was thinking to myself when i saw the picture of the eagle on the rabbit without the "unpleasant image" warning... oh boy is this photo series going to get some complaints. Then came the pictures of wolf baiting. Ouch.

Posted by Shaun March 3, 09 08:24 PM

- I 'shame' the wolf photos. I didn't 'think the hunting photos are a great turn.'
- I'm well aware this isn't Massachusetts.
What do any of these statements have to do with each other?

The chained wolf being unable to get away or defend itself is disgusting. Whether or not I'd quickly kill a wolf that was threatening me has nothing to do torturing the animal with an unfair fight.

Posted by Marx March 3, 09 10:13 PM

My father returned from being stationed at Manas last year. He describes the people there as very beautiful. In general, the Kyrgyz people treated him and his associates very well. Sure, they have their bad apples, as we do, too. But, overall, they take pleasure in what we could consider the simple things in life. His guide and her husband enjoyed going biking in the beautiful areas around there.

WRT the incident involving a Kyrgyz getting shot: It sounds like the Kyrgyz was drunk or not right in the head. He drew a knife on a guard, and the guard fired his weapon when he probably could and should have suppressed the individual. A very regrettable situation. But, I should point out that was the ONLY significant situation there. Still, as testament to the Kyrgyz, their idea of an anti-American rally was to recite poetry expressing their anger in front of the base. I wish my fellow Americans would be so well-behaved as a whole!

WRT the closure of the US Air Base: There is a Russian base also in Kyrgystan. The US pays a lot more for their base than the Russians do. And, dad thinks the folks there like the US more than the Russians. (He and his collegues spent plenty of $ there, after all.) But, the Russians are NOT happy with the US presence there, given the current increase in tensions between our countries. And, if you had Russia so close by and a country from the other side of the planet irritating each other, whom would you want to keep happy?

I hope some people will find this enlightening.

Posted by Jacob March 3, 09 11:10 PM

Alan Taylor, You give us an opportunity to see the world.... Not all of us can live the adventurous live... So we get the next best thing ;-)

I login to you site religiously.... Love the photos... Love the comments...

Some comments I Agree With... Some I don’t agree but I understand where they are coming from, Some I either agree nor understand, But everyone has their right to opinion.. Some..... Well Some... well…I am just happy and grateful that I am not them….

Posted by febin March 4, 09 01:47 AM

For what it's worth, I lived in Kyrgyzstan for two years and contrary to MarketGarden's comment (which seems a pretty ignorant one to my eyes), in my opinion ethnically Kyrgyz women are some of the most beautiful human beings on the planet. Search YouTube for "Kyrgyz girls" and see for yourself.

To those expressing such righteous indignation against the wolf baiting photos, I urge you to develop a little perspective. People in rural Kyrgyzstan are nomadic for the most part and they depend for their lives on their animals and their ability to protect them. At that event they're demonstrating the ability of their trained dogs to fight against wolves, wolves that would otherwise kill their livestock and condemn them and their families to death by starvation. It's really easy to sit on your high horse, tuck into your steak that you bought plastic-wrapped from a supermarket, then stroke your cute little lap cat and moan about animal cruelty, but all you're demonstrating by doing that is your complete ignorance of the way other people in the world exist and survive. If your life depended on the safety of your herd, you'd have as much respect for wolves as you do for cockroaches - you know, those cockroaches that you kill without a second thought, purely because they irritate you.

But anyway, I liked the photos but I feel there was a missed opportunity here. The best thing about the country is its breathtaking natural beauty, e.g. the major lakes (Issyk-Kul and also Song-Kul) and the ENORMOUS mountains. We're talking multiple peaks over 7,000m (23,000 ft), folks! And because the country is 80% mountains there are almost no fences anywhere - you're free to roam pretty much wherever you like. Just get on a horse and go. Despite the highly depressing extent of government corruption, there's a level of freedom in Krygyzstan that simply isn't possible in the West. It would've been nice to see some evidence of that.

Posted by Matt March 4, 09 02:58 AM

Some explanations/corrections for some of the photos:

#8 & #9: The sport they're playing is called "Ulak Tartysh" in Kyrgystan. ("Kok-Boru" is the Uzbek term.) The sport is essentially polo, except you replace the ball with the headless carcass of a goat (which you can see in #8 underneath one of the rider's legs) and you make it a contact sport where riders are allowed to hit each other with whips.

#12: This is a sport/demonstration called "kyz kuumai". A man chases a woman on horseback as she tries to get away. If he catches her within a set distance then he gets to kiss her. If he fails, then she gets to chase him and, if she catches him, whip him with her horsewhip. As you can see, this time the man was successful!

Posted by Matt March 4, 09 03:08 AM

#19 Looks like Hiro Nakamura (from Heroes) is sitting in the second row, 4th seat.

Posted by Paulo March 4, 09 05:40 AM

cool pictures as always
#14 is my fave

Posted by guayec March 4, 09 06:26 AM

In one word,
Beautifull !!!!

I really like this web site, i enjoy watching all these pictures !

Posted by Romain Posset March 4, 09 07:32 AM

#19 - Why do I always get the seat next to the fat sergeant ?

Posted by Dek March 4, 09 08:47 AM

@ Post #68, "Matt"
Your post is too long and somewhat too late ...

Elaborate thinking & writing (that is, more than a few catch phrases), is seldom read anymore, especially if you're attempting to tell people something they previously "knew" was wrong ... in recent times, this was proven by 1950's psychology and 1930's Hitler rise to power, and evidenced by "this is the middle ages" type of comments here.

It is assumed that there is moderation in this blog, while the vast number of stupidities uttered here would seem to disprove that illusion.

Before you ask, I am perfectly aware that I am mostly speaking in the wind, and in vain : people do not WANT to wake up from centuries of fairy tales, even if they ought to ... Look at this ridiculously small comment box, for instance ...

Posted by Huang Di March 4, 09 03:27 PM

Now, before accusing Russians of hateful behavior toward illegal migrants from CIS, would you please remind me the number of ethnically Russian Soviet citizens killed and banished from former Soviet republics in the late 80ies-early 90ies? Do you really think all those hundreds of thousands of people just went and disappeared into thin air, leaving neither trace nor more lucky relatives in Russia behind?

Posted by danvolodar March 4, 09 05:14 PM

The first few photos are great until those American showed up.
What is their problem, building all this air base in others people country.

Posted by fjinnw March 4, 09 05:54 PM

It comes straight to the heart: the pure and simple beauty of nature, people and their ways of life.
We can only be grateful american domination can (hopefully) no longer spoil all this.

Posted by maria March 5, 09 07:08 AM

In these comments, unift dullards that have no problem eating the meat of factory farmed animals complain about one chained wolf. How about you care about animal welfare in your own country before you point your finger?

Posted by T. March 5, 09 08:29 AM

Huang Di, are you proposing that humans have more "humane" capacity than they exibit? Would you prefer to live in a society that has left behind human error in judgment? My gosh what would you do, put us all in jail who act errantly in the light of your own moral dignity?
Look, I believe humans can be better but what kind of world would it be that exibits perfect equal and morally upstanding existence? There will ALWAYS be corruption, murder, crime, rape, incest, animal cruelty, racism, and unfair living conditions. All I can say is do something about it.
There are many things we are not doing while we turn a blind eye to corruption and unfair living conditions in our own westernized lands. Don't sit here in these places and talk the talk if you are not in your own land walking the walk. THAT is the epitomy of a coward.
As for Kyrgyzstan:
1. Very beautiful people, inside and out
2. Does anyone posting here really think they know something about what is going on in Kyrgyzstan politics, or base closure, or American interests in Kyrgyzstan? You'd realize you don't know much at all if you take into consideration Russian strong arm control right her in Kyrgyzstan
3. Animal Cruelty? #68 post, Matt, is right on. Don't take your own armchair view and condemn the rest of the world while you stuff your face with Ice Cream and Pizza

I have faith in people, I have faith that they will fail themselves and others while living to the best of their ability and many times a day, people with real dignity and substance die while many more are born. Don't be armchair politicians, dedicate some time to your cause.

Posted by Dano March 5, 09 07:16 PM

i am realy taken by the pics. i realy would like to visit this place. very beautiful place.

Posted by Ashfaq Maqbool Lawrence March 6, 09 12:19 AM

a stunning series of images. I particularly liked the one on horseback herding the livestock. Nice colour and composition!

Posted by chris March 6, 09 02:49 AM

#22--I believe the airman is collecting fuel samples to check for water or other

unwanted material in the fuel cells.

Posted by Sam March 6, 09 02:21 PM

Comment 75,you must be russian and your reaction to my posting is exactly what I've heard and seen so far in russians.Again,those ruskies are not the same as well,you just can't blame all them.
But the majourity of ruskies are absolutely intolerant toward other races.

Just for the record check this out

Posted by Anonymous March 6, 09 02:50 PM

It's certainly an interesting place. I lived there for three years and wrote a book about it - Revolution Baby: Motherhood and Anarchy in Kyrgyzstan by Saffia Farr. Find out more at

Posted by Saffia Farr March 6, 09 05:47 PM

@35... don't blame the dogs, you can bet their behaviour has been 'modified' and they're victims too.

Posted by Anonymous March 6, 09 07:34 PM

@ Marx
My point may have lost on your since, judging just from your name, your probably either a russian or eastern european.

I meant to say that, like others have said before and after me, there are no starbucks on the corners in this country. Many people are nomadic and depend on raising and protecting their own livestock. Wolves are the natural enemy for them.

As to my other point, I was just saying it was funny that some people say "Oh those hunting photos are beautiful!" and then turn around and condemn the other side of that equation, which is the wolf capture.

Posted by bob March 7, 09 12:07 PM

The wolf has had its bottom teeth removed and has been chained so the hunting dogs can rip it apart without harm to themselves .
How any of the commenters here can find that impressive is truly astounding.
If the wolves are a threat to livestock ,shoot them, why the need for gratuitous cruelty, for entertainment?

Posted by Rodger March 8, 09 03:11 AM

US Army military personnel are called Soldiers,
US Marine Corps military personnel are called Marines,
US Navy military personnel are called Sailors,

US Air Force Military personnel are called Airmen.

Pictures 17, 20 & 22 are clearly Airmen based on the uniforms.

Posted by SrA from Boston March 8, 09 01:56 PM

number 11, pretty girl tries to swim on the left... hot! xD

Posted by Pez March 9, 09 09:09 AM

animal cruelty.. this culture is so inhuman, hate it.

Posted by Judit March 9, 09 01:36 PM

It takes someone who has lived in a country to to judge what is the majority of its population like, and making far-going assumptions based on the material so called "free western media" provides is just hilariously stupid, minding how the majority of journalists sent to Russia see it more as an exile.

Posted by danvolodar March 9, 09 02:55 PM

Gotta love all the PETA folks commenting about animal cruelty. You simply cannot judge their culture by the standards of ours, animals are probably an essential part of life over there. explains all you need to know about #11.

Posted by Michael March 9, 09 03:57 PM

There must be fishes in this river... (#11)

Posted by Aurélien March 9, 09 05:00 PM

Awesome pictures. Thank you!

Posted by Brian March 9, 09 05:36 PM

@Dano, post#79
I am sorry if I distorted what I meant so much that you didn't understood me, but the world we live in causes people to act the way they do :
- grab any small community (that is, where people know each other), and you'll see there is practically no crime, for just & fairly applied enough laws : as the Taoists wrote centuries ago, the ideal politician rule wisely through common sense, not through adding up useless laws. The less laws there are, the more known and respected they'll be.
- as for doing something to change the world, the sheer stupidity and blindness of current national & international structures ensure that any single individual's good deeds will be trampled by their ignorant sneezing ...
- being a political figure ? Appealing to the herd mentality is pure stupidity, while talking to individual intelligence CAN, and WILL have a lasting effect ...through not initially a glittering and shining one.

Just as surely as civilizations collapse and buildings crumble, things will change, triggering, for some, our evolution on the next part of the Helix of Life ... but for those that do not evolve, they'll live the next version of the MahaBarata's epic battles, going on in Life's Circle ...

PS : I have this nagging feeling that I did not make my point any clearer :-)

Posted by Huang Di March 9, 09 05:46 PM

Next step would be to free the chagos island

Posted by thomas cambou March 10, 09 02:38 AM

Kyrgyzstan the MOST beautiful country in the world.

Girl in #11 is likely ethnic russian descent - many beautiful girls all thru Kyrgyzstan & Kazahkstan

Also Manas is last defence point for Americans in this region - if they lose it (which they have) it allows more control for Russians in this very important region. In my opinion this is great.

I am a New Zealander of Maori descent.

Wonderful photos of a wonderful place.

Posted by w March 12, 09 11:01 AM

I strongly support Thomas Cambou's comment on freeing the Chagos Archipelago from British and American colonialism. The inhumane manner in which the indigenous peoples were expelled by these, so called defenders of freedom and upholders of democracy, simply stinks.

Posted by nelson dias March 13, 09 10:50 AM

up yours 91

That's what I'm trying to show here.Russians just can't accept the fact that Russia has become hostile to other races.I'm sure russian media is so ideal as well just like I can be with dinosaurs come back next year or something.

Posted by jgfyug March 14, 09 02:53 PM

#5 photo is of a juvenile Goshawk... not a falcon or Golden eagle. Well captured action. Apart from that little error on the raptor species a good set of photos.

Posted by Accipiter March 14, 09 04:20 PM

I like this page Becouse you have a nice photos.
this work is very nice

Posted by cesar soria March 14, 09 07:11 PM


Posted by mikvance March 17, 09 06:27 PM

First, a big thanks to Alan and the photographers.
As for the comments, it's interesting to see people's views and I am quite pleased to see that there are enough people in west who can see the situation from the point of view of the locals.
I have to note that I was born in Kyrgyzstan and am of Russian descent.
I wouldn't mind American presence in the country if it was in a reasonably remote location like the Russian base near Kant. It irritates me to land in the international airport of the place I was born in when it looks like it's been taken over by the military of another country. The behaviour of army personnel of both bases is less than exemplary but the US base's have been known to treat locals like animals. The constant "emergency" dumping of fuel on the villages west of the airport has seen the cancer rates in the region shoot straight up. And the local that was shot by the US soldier, has been making those deliveries for quite some time and the level of alcohol in this blood was a few times over the lethal level (think, what would you do if you, maybe accidentally, shot someone and had a med-kit at hand). Needless to say I am glad that the US army getting out of there, that doesn't mean I don't welcome US presence as such as I have had plenty of pleasant encounters with Peace-Corps volunteers stationed there(they Ski much better than the locals :)
As for Russians being xenophobic? Hell yeah! A lot of them are, and in a recent Moscow survey (last week) 90% of Russians said they didn't like the presence of low paid foreign workers in the country, in that respect they are pretty similar to the majority of US/UK citizens IMHO. May I point out that in all my travels I have failed to see where Muslims and Christians leave as peacefully as they do back home, something US can really learn from.
As for the animal cruelty, yes I am not proud of that personally but alas capturing your enemy and rediculing him as always been a way human civilizations dealt with conflicts, some do it on people in Abu Ghraib others do it on predators stealing their main source of food and income.
Sorry for the essay, but I felt I had to give a common local's point of view.

Posted by Eugene March 18, 09 12:55 PM

Here is some point on the air base from local kyrgyz opposition party to the eviction.

Posted by Anonymous March 18, 09 04:04 PM

fantastic pictures!
what kind of camera has been used?
i imagen it is not so easy to photograph birds who flying so fast?
greatings from switzerland


Posted by jay March 20, 09 12:35 PM

so when Sarah Palin shoots animals from the helicopter its okay, but when people who traditionally relied on animals to hunt for food do it, its barbaric.

as far as the base goes, nobody likes having foreign troops (Russian or American) on their own territory because they have to deal with the social, environmental, and criminal issues that are generated by it. The added revenue these bases generate may not be enough to make them worth while for some countries to host them, due to those problems
US as tax payers are the ones paying for these bases.
Finally and unfortunately, Kyrgyzstan has limitations in its interactions with the US. It will and for some time will remain in Russia's sphere of influence due to geography and economic needs. Unless the US and Iran get a long and the southern borders become viable for transportation, Kyrgyzstan will look north, obey to the north, and the US will be in a weak position in this part of the world.

Posted by John Regan March 26, 09 12:03 AM

To the fellow americans,the eviction decision is not made by the majourity of kyrgyz so this is a solely president Bakiev's move with a purpose of saving regime which is absolutely ignorant and repressive.Kyrgyz nation is having a tough times with a current world economic crisis as any other country and it's hitting Kyrgyzstan really hard.On top all that current government under Bakiev does't have any plan to do something and because of that Bakiev is loosing a credibility in the society.
Second,the american and NATO base Manas is serving kyrgyz national interests as well because the Afghanistan has been a problem for a few decades now.
The Afghanistan is a source of heavy drug traffik to the rest of the world and those routes go through Central Asian republics intensively,then the terrorism propagated by religious fundamentalists which is a real danger to the security of the region,there can't no doubts that the american and the NATO efforts in stabilizing the Afghanistan should be supported by every reasonable sense which what other republics did like Kazakstan and Azerbaidjan because it's in the interests of the neighbouring states including Russia.In this light russians are using absolutely unwise strategy in undermining the global move by the West.

If anybody interested in this topic you are more then welcome to

There is more on regional politics in order to get a better understanding on the current political situation

Posted by Anonymous March 28, 09 01:38 PM

I'd like to see that wolf (#13) eat some of the spectators. Animal cruelty is inexcusable no matter what culture you're in! Humans suck.

Posted by Suzanne April 8, 09 05:54 PM

To Eugene:

I, like yourself, was born in KG as well. Having said that, I would like to ask you, what is there for poor people to do in Kant of all places, if they do not have work? American base provides some work and I bet those people are grateful to work there.
As for dumping fuel and growing cancer rates, where did you get that information? Do you think that American planes constantly dump oil just for the sake of it? Given the cost of fuel and careful calculations, I do not think there is much need to do it. Besides, how many emergency landings are there?? In terms of growing cancer rates, there are no valid epidemiological studies that would point towards that direction.
I am not pro any country in this tricky situation, however, I think that KG government is the only institution to be blamed. Taking out American base would be a mistake, as money from Putin will run out very fast. There are plenty of those, who benefited from it already, but alas, those are not your average people.

Posted by Maripa April 16, 09 01:55 PM

@37's comment

America must go home? If Russia wouldn't have gone into Afghanistan in the 80's and blindly slaughtered thousands upon thousands of ethnic Afghan people, the US would not have needed to set up a bases in the region. The terrorists that exist in Afghanistan today are a direct reflection of the indiscriminate killing and destruction that was dealt out by Russia. Manas is a base to supply the INTERNATIONAL forces in Afghanistan with the supplies they need to clean up after Russia. Not to mention the hundreds of Kyrgyz locals that are provided jobs purely because of the US’ presence in the region.

Posted by pocatellohc May 13, 09 02:54 AM

I love KYRGHYZSTAN. Absoutlu beautifull country.

Posted by Dinara Hoffman May 24, 09 01:25 PM

my dad is going there for four month deployment and i am scared....but americans fight for our freedom. still they protect our country from disaster.the mililtary is the most important thing in the world.i like the C-17 picture:)

Posted by Anonymous August 5, 09 01:55 PM

#22 is a firefighter in full turnout gear.

Posted by hme August 7, 09 05:15 AM

That wolf being chained down and attacked is sick, you people are cruel and sick!!!

Posted by Lupine August 17, 09 08:30 AM

that was down

Posted by oscar October 21, 09 11:53 AM

The wolf is a horrible seen but we have to remember every culture has different beliefs. Its sad but look at some of Americans hobbies that others may hear about or see on the internet and be appalled. It seems like this is a beautiful place and is on my list of places to visit.

Posted by natalie February 19, 10 04:16 PM

To the comment by Lupine in post 114. You sit there and pass judgment on them from your armchair. Have you even bothered to research there ways of life and traditions. Don't dehumanize them without knowing there culture. Not all cultures view life with such value as Americans as most European nations do. If you haven't lived there way of life don't judge them for it.

Posted by Frank L March 10, 10 10:09 AM

People come on - please understand that these Kyrgyz people have certain traditions that they enjoy and is a part of their culture. What looks barbarric to us is sensible to them. What do most of the population do for their livelyhood -heard sheep and grazing animals and what is their greatest foe - the wolf. I'm sure many sheppards have lost their lives to wolves as well. There is animal cruelty all over the world if you look for it in every culture. If it offends you that much join PETA, become a real activist and also a vegetarian, then live in the wilderness somewhere.

Having a US infuence there is definately a positive - we bring millions of dollars of revenue to that area for that people -granted cruption in the local government uses someof that money to line their pockests, but the majority of that cash goes to the local community. The Air Force Base there gives jobs to local Kyrgyz for manual labor around the base - which is better that some jobs back where unemployment is very high, and near impossible to find work. We pay "rent" to their government to be there in their country. Yes its a jump point to support the war, but that base also provides a buffer between Russian and Communist China. Why don't you ask a Kyrgyz who is over the age of 50 how they liked communist rule as commparred to now.

We would all like the war to end, and evetually pull out of Kyrgyzstan, and thank them for their hospitallity, but there are bad guys still in the world that make life in general harder for average people like you and me to live in. Unfortunately, we have all be affected by terrorism in some way -Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas - and if someonw doesn't stand up to them who will - will you take up arms to protect my family and yours for their safety?

Posted by Trushio March 18, 10 09:11 AM

Everyone in Kyrgyzstan should ask your leader to be friend with our American people. The Kyrgyz need to ask your leader to create a direct flight from the U S so travelers will come to shop for your toys. Kyrgystan should learn from the Japan and Korea. When U S move into these two nations, they become rich at almost all level of life. If Kyrgyzstan does so, soon it will be rich and become a nice place for travers and business guys.The U S heart has more rooms for the poor than the Russia heart.

Posted by Noog Mus May 2, 10 08:36 PM

Manas had the best chow hall, all the combos and penni sandwiches you could ever want, afghan was all the mres you could get, I kinda miss Manas.

Posted by Ivers -USMC June 6, 10 10:49 PM

#'s 118 and 119 demonstrated true perspective and thought, not to mention knowledge of these important topics. It was hard to read the first 117 comments of people condeming the country that has freed untold gazillions of people and elevated the standards of living of even more.

#120, my son just landed at Manas. He likes their chow hall too! Thank you for serving my country, and the world, for I know that this is what you have done.

Posted by Paula June 15, 10 10:04 PM

I'm desgusted in your tradition of dog and wolf fighting. It's appauling. You should be put in a ring with a loose wolf to tear you all to shreds. Oh i'd love to watch that.

Posted by Tigurlilly June 23, 10 06:45 AM

For the person asking about photo 21 and what type of exercise.

The person is a ARFF firefighter (regular firefighter that has special training in putting out airplane fires and rescue) and that is the type of bunker gear they have to wear to protect themselves from the heat of jet fuel fires.

So the exercise was either fire or crew egress/rescue exercise. Nothing special.

Posted by James July 28, 10 12:48 AM

#103 is full of it. There is no routine dumping of fuel especially with how expensive jet fuel is.

His post is full of inaccurate info and I suspect he is not from Kyrg.

Posted by ttth July 28, 10 12:52 AM

I am not discriminating by saying Yankees Go Home,(i know my comment wont change anything,however on day kyrgyz people will rise as a fire and fly like a falconer. Your family is waiting for.. i am Kyrgyz U are using us its not fear just because u r having good benefits being in my home.. p.s Thanks for great pics.. Peace

Posted by Tynch July 29, 10 04:30 PM

What awful wolf slayings i hope the wolf won

Posted by Kat August 3, 10 02:37 PM

Manas, Manas AB, I was there in 2007 AEF 7/8, I had fun and worked my butt too, but nice country and would love to go again before I retire.

Posted by Jorge Rivera August 17, 10 12:41 PM

Don't blame the hunting dogs in 13 and 14 it's what they're trained to do. They are just doing what they have been taught and what is instinct. It'snot fair to condemn them for what that culture does. Think outside the box. Those dogs did not tie the wolf and blunt it's teeth so they can attack it. They are doing the only thing they think is right.

Posted by Amy M September 13, 10 11:57 AM

It is my opinion that if we are forced to leave, we should leave it as we found it....there is no reason to facillitate the russians, by handing them millions of our dollars worth of buildings, and infrastructure. If we are asked to leave than since it is our ball, we should take it home when we leave. Let them build thier own..

Posted by Anonymous December 13, 10 12:02 PM

@post #50. The guy in the suit in picture number 21 is not an aircraft refueler but a firefighter. Also your comment regarding jet fuel burning the skin is not correct. JP-8 is the fuel used by aircraft and while it's long term effects are dangerous, getting some on your skin will just cause irritation. With that being said, you really don't want it on your skin as it's absorbed into your bloodstream and jet fuel contains benzene.

Posted by Ed December 14, 10 01:26 PM

I do not condone animal cruelty, and no longer hunt for sport. But traditions such as that with the hunting dogs and the wolf have their origin in survival. Wolves were a threat to the villages, and having well trained hunting dogs was necessary to put food on the table. They made sport from the activities that kept them alive. It's easy to look down on such "barbaric" activities, as we sit in our warm homes and drive to the grocery store for food. Try living a bit closer to the edge in a more primitive world and you will see things, many things, very differently.

Posted by SkyHogg December 17, 10 03:13 AM

the wolves and dogs photos were disturbing.. yes, wolves are threat to their village but using them as an entertainment, BAD IDEA. it is so unfair.. there should be some respect for that..

Posted by lola January 22, 11 07:48 PM

My daughter is a marine and just landed there on her way home. She loves it there. I'm so glad she is out of Afghanistan now.

Posted by Celena LeVasseur February 5, 11 05:13 PM

u s army think you a good job

Posted by ssekibaalaandrew February 12, 11 02:19 AM

Ugh, the wolf tied up. I have no respect for such culture and I have no problem if cultures like this are eradicated. Yes, cruelty happens in Western nations too but it is always in secret, and when they're found out they are crucified. In this 'culture' we see here, it seems to be mainstream.

The more I see of backwards cultures like this, the more I understand the anti-east attitude of a certain German leader in the 1930s. Maybe he was right after all?

As a non-American, I have no care at all about whether they stay there or not. I have no sympathy for these 'people' at all.

Posted by Joseph March 11, 11 02:56 AM

Also, as a vegetarian, I come to realise that Western cruelty towards the wildlife is NOTHING compared to how those in the east treat animals. They have no conscience so I have no sympathy for their survival.

Posted by Joseph March 11, 11 02:57 AM

May God Bless All of Our Troops and the sacrifices they have to make to keep the world save from radical terrorists. I pray all of you that made comments here before and after me, that God will place compassion in your hearts for other human beings and His other creatures He created. Philippians 2:1-11 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort in love,if any fellowship did not consider it robbery to be equal with God but made Himself of no reputation,taking the form of a bond servant and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man. He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death,even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on the earth,and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.

Posted by A Christian Mother of an Airman and Soldier March 28, 11 07:11 AM
  • Pin It
  • E-mail
  • E-mail this article

    Invalid E-mail address
    Invalid E-mail address

    Sending your article

    Your article has been sent.