June 5, 2012

NATO strikes overland transport deals

by Slobodan Lekic
Associated Press

NATO has concluded agreements with Central Asian nations allowing it to evacuate vehicles and other military equipment from Afghanistan and completely bypass Pakistan, which once provided the main supply route for coalition forces.

Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said June 4 that Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan had agreed to allow the reverse transport of alliance equipment. Since NATO already has an agreement with Russia, the deal will allow it to ship back to Europe tens of thousands of vehicles, containers and other items through the overland route when the evacuation picks up pace later this year.

Pakistan shut down the southern supply routes six months ago after U.S. airstrikes accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at two border posts, forcing NATO to switch almost completely to the so-called Northern Distribution Network.

After months of stalemate, Pakistani leaders last month signaled that negotiations on the supply routes were progressing, just in time to secure an invitation to the weekend NATO summit in Chicago. But since then the two sides have made little progress in the talks, officials said.

The June 4 announcement appears to indicate that Washington and the allies are now preparing for the possibility that the supply link through Pakistan, said to be about six times cheaper than its northern alternative, may not be reopened at all. It is also likely to put pressure on Pakistan to ease its negotiating stance, which has been stuck in part on how much money the U.S. and NATO should pay to transport the trucks through Pakistani territory.

NATO plans to hand over lead responsibility for the war against the Taliban to the Afghan army and police by the middle of next year, and withdraw its troops by the end of 2014. The alliance already has started drawing down its forces, which reached a peak of about 140,000 last year.

The Afghan security forces will have more than 350,000 members in the next few months. The international withdrawal is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.

“These agreements will give us a range of new options and the robust and flexible transport network we need,” Fogh Rasmussen told reporters.

He said the new deals would make “the use of the Russian transit arrangements even more effective.”

Moscow also has proposed allowing NATO to set up a logistics facility at the air base in Ulyanovsk, Russia, for troops and cargo heading in and out of Afghanistan.

All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.



News Briefs – July 30, 2012

Mechanical failure blamed in Arizona Harrier crash Military officials say early findings point to mechanical failure in the crash of a U.S. Marine Corps Harrier attack jet on a training mission in southwestern Arizona. The AV-8B Harrier went down July 25 afternoon about 15 miles northwest of the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma near the...

News Briefs – July 27, 2012

Pilot killed in Nevada crash was low on gas A fighter pilot on a Navy training mission told air traffic controllers he was running out of gas before he crashed and died at Fallon Naval Air Station in March. Retired Capt. Carroll LeFon had been playing the enemy in an Israeli-built F-21 before attempting to...
DOD photograph by PO1 Chad J. McNeeley

Carter visits DMZ, U.S. troops at end of Asia-Pacific tour

DOD photograph by PO1 Chad J. McNeeley U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter arrives for a town hall meeting with service members on Camp Humphreys, South Korea, July 26, 2012. With his stop in South Korea, Carter conc...


Misawa F-16s resume flying

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) — The 35th Fighter Wing, Misawa Air Base, Japan, resumed flying operations July 26, 2012, following a five-day review of the wing’s F-16s. Col. Al Wimmer, 35th Fighter Wing and Misawa Air Base installation vice commander, ordered a temporary suspension to flying operations after a Misawa-based F-16 developed a problem...
Boeing photograph by Tim Stake

Boeing delivers Nippon Cargo Airlines’ first 747-8 Freighter

Boeing photograph by Tim Stake A Nippon Cargo Airlines 747-8 Freighter takes off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash. Boeing has delivered a 747-8 Freighter to Narita-based Nippon Cargo Airlines, marking the Japanese debut for th...

Japan says no flights until Osprey confirmed safe

Japan’s prime minister says he will not allow any flights of the U.S. military’s latest transport aircraft in this country until its safety after two recent crashes has been confirmed. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told Parliament July 24 that no flights would take place until investigations into the April and June crashes were completed and...


Be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>