Kazakhstan allows US nonmilitary transit to Afghanistan

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KABUL (TCA) — The parliament of Kazakhstan has approved an agreement that allows the United States to use two of the Central Asian country’s Caspian Sea ports as transit points for shipping nonmilitary material to Afghanistan, the Afghan news agency TOLOnews reported.

The transit route will run from Azerbaijan, across the Caspian Sea to Kazakhstan, and then through Uzbekistan before reaching Afghanistan.

By gaining access to the ports of Aktau and Kuryk in Kazakhstan, the United States will gain an additional option in circumventing Russia, which has previously also provided transit options for NATO supplies to Afghanistan, EurasiaNet reported.

Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Kairat Adrakhmanov on March 7 repeatedly stressed the nonmilitary nature of the goods to be delivered along the route, which will run from Azerbaijan, across the Caspian Sea, to Kazakhstan before entering Uzbekistan, which has a railway link to northern Afghanistan, EurasiaNet reported.

According to the report, Adrakhmanov said that a transit deal has been in place between Kazakhstan and the United States since 2010 and that more than 700 containers of goods have been delivered over that period.

Pakistan has regularly provided the easiest supply route for US troops in Afghanistan but recently, alternatives have been sought due to Washington’s ongoing tensions with Pakistan.

Sergey Kwan

TCA