You are herecontent / US Strikes Central Asia Deal to Supply Troops in Afghanistan
US Strikes Central Asia Deal to Supply Troops in Afghanistan
US strikes Central Asia deal to supply troops in Afghanistan
The US has signed agreements allowing it to transport military supplies for Afghanistan through Central Asia following attacks by the Taliban on the Khyber Pass.
By Ben Farmer | Telegraph UK
General David Petraeus, the US commander in the region, said that deals with Russia and several other countries had been reached.
Coalition forces in Afghanistan have been forced to look at alternative routes into Afghanistan after fighting and attacks on convoys in Pakistan have exposed the vulnerability of the main supply route over the Khyber Pass.
Taliban militants have repeatedly attacked convoys or depots used to transport Nato supplies from Peshawar into Afghanistan over the pass.
The route through insurgency-crippled northern Pakistan takes up to three quarters of basic supplies such as food and fuel for the US and Nato-led forces, but has been repeatedly closed in recent months.
Each country in the Nato coalition is responsible for providing its own supplies.
Speaking during a visit to Pakistan, Gen Petraeus also said a key US air staging post in the Central Asia republic of Kyrgystan should remain open. President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was recently reported to be preparing to close Manas airbase, which acts as the main air hub for US forces in Afghanistan, in return for Russian investment.
The general said he had held "important" talks with the Kyrgyz prime minister and the defence minister.
He said: "It was noted that it is again in everyone's interest that we should all support the Kyrgyz government and that in fact the partnership, that includes Manas, should continue and be strengthened."
Russia and China have been unhappy about the presence of the large US airbase in a region they believe is in their own sphere of influence.
Gen Petraeus visited Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan last week, and said he had discussed strengthening supplies routes for Western forces from the Central Asian states.
While Nato forces insist the unrest in the Khyber region has not jeapordised supplies, they have said they are keen to look at alternatives.
He said: "There have been agreements reached and there are transit lines now and transit agreements for commercial goods and services in particular, that includes several of the countries in Central Asia and Russia."
President Barack Obama is expected to double the number of US troops in Afghanistan this year to around 60,000 to battle a growing insurgency and provide security for presidential elections.