Washington: The new reverse transit agreement between NATO and three Central Asian countries for transport of goods from Afghanistan is for "non-lethal goods" only, said a NATO official, adding that they are in talks for a new transit agreement with Russia.
Earlier this week, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced that NATO would have a new reverse transit agreement with Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan and Kazakhstan- three countries through which NATO already operates its Northern Distribution Network for ferrying supplies into and out of Afghanistan, reports The Express Tribune.
The agreement comes after the ground supply routes from Pakistan to Afghanistan were closed since November 2011, following the Salala airstrike that led to the death of 24 Pakistani soldiers. Pakistan has demanded an apology from the United States in return, and is currently in talks with a US team on negotiating new tariffs for trucks passing through Pakistan before the routes are re-opened.
The NATO official said the ISAF nations would pay the commercial operators for services to transport the cargo. NATO declined to divulge the details of the agreement, but said that an agreement has been reached "to the mutual satisfaction of all parties involved”.
The official said they are also working with Russia on a rail-air option through Ulyanovsk that would help them transport non-lethal goods.
"Once completed, all these agreements will give us a range of new options and the robust and flexible transport network we need for the transport of non-lethal goods from Afghanistan," said the official.
The US is due to withdraw 23000 of its 130,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2012. France, a NATO partner, is also due to withdraw its 4000 troops from the country.