NATO strikes transport deals through Central Asia

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 Monday 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 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.