Uzbekistan, US close to supply route deal for troops in Afghanistan
U.S. and Uzbekistan are close to a deal that would allow Washington to open a new supply route for its troops in Afghanistan, a Western source said.
The United States and Uzbekistan are close to a deal that would allow Washington to open a new supply route for its troops in Afghanistan, a Western diplomatic source in Kazakhstan said on Thursday.
The United States is looking for alternative supply routes to Afghanistan for its toops which located in the country since 2001 occupation.
More than 2,100 civilians in Afghanistan were killed last year, a 40 percent rise from the previous year, as a result of US invasion for seventh year, spreading to new areas, the United Nations top aid official said.
Kyrgyzstan's parliament will vote next week on whether to shut a U.S. air base which is an important staging post for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The move would set a tough challenge for U.S. President Barack Obama who plans to send more troops to boost NATO's military invasion in Afghanistan.
The railroad route through Uzbekistan is dubbed the Northern Distribution Network and runs through Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
"With Russia and with Kazakhstan there is an agreement in place for the transportation of non-lethal, non-military supplies", said the diplomat, who asked not to be named as he did not want to make public remarks on the talk's progress.
"It's also almost in place with Uzbekistan. In principle they have said 'yes'."
The United States used to operate a military base in Uzbekistan for its operations in Afghanistan until 2005 when Tashkent evicted U.S. troops in a row over a crackdown by Uzbekistan's government on a protest in the town of Andizhan.
The new Uzbek supply route, expected to transit cargo such as building materials, food, medicines and water for foreign troops in Afghanistan, is attractive because it could also be cut short by sending shipments across the Caspian Sea.
The United States has said it may start stocking up on some of the supply items in Kazakhstan to streamline military operations in Asian country.
Reuters Last Mod: 06 Şubat 2009, 15:15