NATO signs transit deal with Central Asia

NATO has signed deals with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to use their territory to transport troops and equipments out of Afghanistan via the so-called northern supply route, just a few months after striking a similar deal with Russia.

The agreement will allow NATO to bypass Pakistan, which has closed its borders to international convoys after a drone strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last year. The re-opening negotiations between Islamabad and Washington have brought no results so far.

The NATO operation in Afghanistan is due to wind down completely by the end of 2014, when Afgan forces will take full responsibility for the country’s security. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced however that Afghanistan and the Alliance have agreed to a plan to launch an international peacekeeping mission in the country post-2014, offering training and other assistance. NATO will provide funding for the mission at an estimated $4.1 billion a year.

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