NATO in talks for new routes to keep troop supply lines open

December 9th, 2008 - 6:10 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec.9 (ANI): NATO countries are scrambling for alternative routes as far afield as Belarus and Ukraine to supply their forces in Afghanistan, reports the Guardian newspaper.
The step is being taken in the wake of four serious attacks on US and NATO supplies in Pakistan during the past month, including two in the past three days.
According to the paper, NATO is negotiating with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to allow supplies for NATO troops, including fuel, to cross borders into Afghanistan from the north.
The deal, which officials said was close to being agreed, follows an agreement with Moscow this year allowing NATO supplies to be transported by rail or road through Russia.
The deal could allow more fuel for NATO forces to be transported from refineries in Baku, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan.
Most of the 75m gallons of fuel to be used by NATO forces annually in Afghanistan comes from refineries in Pakistan.
Germany and Spain, whose troops are based in more peaceful northern Afghanistan, have negotiated separate bilateral air transport agreements with Russia.
NATO officials have said that the organization is negotiating with Ukraine and Belarus for a land route that would avoid Pakistan and Somalian pirates on the Gulf of Aden.
More than 70 percent of NATO supplies in Afghanistan land in Karachi and then are taken to Peshawar, before going through the Khyber Pass to Kabul. (ANI)

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