ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday said it allowed the aerial transportation of military equipment to a key American airbase in Afghanistan, with 15 military vehicles airlifted to Bagram air facility from Karachi under a special agreement signed between Pakistan and the United States around two years ago.
The development seems directly linked to a top American commander’s visit to Pakistan three days ago whereby he met top Pakistani military commanders. According to the Ministry of Defence, the consignments that took off from Jinnah International Airport (JIAP) were meant for Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) that were part of a commercial operation launched as a ‘special gesture’ from the Pakistani government to Afghanistan. The military sources, on the other hand, shared with Daily Times that the military consignments were mainly for the allied forces apart from the ANSF.
Although, the Afghanistan-bound military shipments were already being transported from Pakistan, they are being categorised under commercial activity for the first time, it is learnt.
“Not only the military vehicles but related logistical equipment such as tool kits and cellular handsets would also be transported from Karachi to Bagram under commercial activity – mainly for ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) and for the ANSF,” a senior army officer informed Daily Times on Monday.
In a statement issued here on Monday, the Defence Ministry said the first flight of the Commercial Multi-Model Operation from JIAP Karachi carrying 15 military vehicles took off for Bagram Air Base. “The transportation by air has been allowed to airlift vehicles meant for ANSF as special gesture by Government of Pakistan. The vehicles are of vital importance and urgently required by ANSF.”
The ministry said the aerial operation was originally part of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Pakistan and the United States in July, 2012, which deals with use of Pakistan’s lines of communications to and from Afghanistan. The operation will be treated as ‘commercial’ and will continue for next couple of weeks, the statement said.
“This arrangement has been made to facilitate rapid delivery of vital military cargo to our brotherly neighbouring state to enhance its security and stability. This effort is expected to contribute towards strengthening the existing relations with Afghanistan.” The military source said Pakistan signed the MoU on allowing aerial transportation of military consignments from Pakistan to Afghanistan soon after the resumption of NATO supplies in July 2012.
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