Friday, March 06, 2009

US, desperate for more routes of access into Afghanistan, makes a deal with Tajikistan

Reuters is reporting that the United States is making a deal to transport goods through Tajikistan. The effect would be to strengthen the transport facilities of Tajikistan, another development that will be important for the long-term. See below. RLC

U.S. sees deal on Tajik transit for Afghan cargo
06 Mar 2009 11:52:35 GMT
Source: Reuters
DUSHANBE, March 6 (Reuters) - The United States and Tajikistan expect soon to finalise an agreement that would allow the transit of non-lethal supplies to Afghanistan, the U.S. embassy in Dushanbe said on Friday.

Russia gave the go ahead for the first cargo of non-lethal supplies to cross its territory this month. The cargo went by rail across Russia and Kazakhstan and is currently in Uzbekistan awaiting transit across the Uzbek border with Afghanistan.

A deal with Tajikistan would give the United States the added option of using the former Soviet state's border which is closer to U.S. military bases in Afghanistan.

"I think we have the support of the Tajik government," the U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan, Tracey Ann Jacobson, told Sobytiya weekly in an interview published in Russian.

"We are now working on a few details. But I hope we will have an agreement soon," the ambassador was quoted as saying.

A spokesman for the embassy confirmed the comments.

Once a deal is struck, trains could go direct to Tajikistan where cargos would be loaded onto trucks and driven across the Tajik-Afghan border.

Washington is seeking to find new supply routes for its troops fighting Taliban forces after militants stepped up attacks on convoys through Pakistan. (Reporting by Roman Kozhevnikov; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Jon Boyle)

AlertNet news is provided by Reuters

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