Uzbekistan allows non-military US transit to Afghanistan
TASHKENT: Uzbekistan has agreed to allow the United States to transport non-military supplies through its territory to neighbouring Afghanistan, President Islam Karimov said on Wednesday.
“Uzbekistan has agreed to allow non-military, I underline, non-military cargo to be transited through Uzbek territory to Afghanistan, in accordance with existing Uzbek legislation,” Karimov told reporters. “Uzbekistan is participating in the development of the communication and transport infrastructure of Afghanistan. We’ve started a construction project on a railway from the (Uzbek) city of Termez to (the northern Afghan city of) Mazar-e Sharif,” he said.
The US has been seeking new transit routes to supply coalition forces in increasingly unstable Afghanistan since nearby Kyrgyzstan announced the closure of a key US airbase on its territory earlier this month. Karimov, speaking at a press conference with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, described the significance of the agreement as “very high”. General David Petraeus, head of Central Command, which oversees the region, travelled to Uzbekistan last week for a visit widely seen as a sign Washington was seeking to use the country as a transit route for Afghanistan. afp