U.S., Russia Agree to Afghanistan Re-Supply Transit Route
It’s not been the greatest year for resupplying the Afghanistan war. The Kyrgyzstan government has been iffy about allowing the U.S. continued access to the Manas Air Base, a major transit hub, though it’s looking more like the U.S. military will keep access to Manas. Then there’s the NATO supply route through Pakistan, which goes right through Taliban territory. Today in Moscow, though, comes a bit of welcome news: the Russians are allowing transport of “non-lethal equipment” to Afghanistan through their territory.
The agreement was concluded by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns. From an official release:
This agreement will enable the United States to further diversify the crucial transportation routes and decrease the amount of time needed to move troops and critical equipment to resupply international forces in Afghanistan and to bring needed supplies to the government and people of Afghanistan. This will permit 4,500 flights per year. The new transit routes will save the United States government up to $133 million annually in fuel, maintenance and other transportation costs, and this agreement is free of any air navigation charges. By providing access to these transit routes, the Russian Federation is enabling a substantial increase in the efficiency of our common effort to defeat the forces of violent extremism in Afghanistan and to ensure Afghanistan’s and the broader region’s security.