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Asia-pacific

Kazakhstan allows cargo transit for US and NATO troops

Latest update : 2009-02-09

Kazakhstan has agreed to let the US ship non-lethal supplies to US and NATO troops serving in Afghanistan, days after the Kyrgyz goverment ordered the closure of an airbase that served as a vital supply route for the cargo.

AFP - Kazakhstan on Monday became the latest nation to offer its territory for the transit of non-lethal cargo to US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, following Kyrgyzstan's shock decision to shut a key US airbase.
  
"Kazakhstan has given its consent to the transit of cargo by land for the logistics of the US contingent in Afghanistan," ministry spokesman Yerzhan Ashikbayev told journalists.
  
"We will work out the technical and commercial parameters with the US side separately," Ashikbayev said.
  
The announcement from Kazakhstan comes days after Kyrgyzstan's government ordered the closure of a US airbase that serves as a vital supply route for US and NATO troops in Afghanistan.
  
The administration of US President Barack Obama has made Afghanistan a top priority and has pressed hard to secure overland transit agreements from Russia and Central Asian nations amid security problems on the Pakistan route.
  
And since Bishkek's annoucement of the base's closure shocked the United States and NATO, other states have lined up to offer their support to the Western military alliance.
  
Tajikistan also said last week it was ready to allow US and NATO supplies for Afghanistan, including construction materials, medicines, fuel and water, to transit its soil by road.
  
Even Russia has said it will agree to a US request to allow the transit of supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan once Washington details what goods require transit.
  
A Kyrgyz parliamentary committee on Monday moved a step closer to endorsing the government plan to close the US air base, officials said.
  
The parliamentary committee for security and defence voted unanimously to shut down the base and will now pass the matter on to a full parliamentary vote to take place on Thursday.
  
The US military base at Manas -- used by coalition forces to support tens of thousands of troops in neighbouring Afghanistan -- is considered vital to the ongoing fight there.
  
Operated by about 1,000 troops, the Manas base was established to support coalition forces fighting to oust the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

Date created : 2009-02-09

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