Alternative transport corridor via Tajikistan to Afghanistan is not the best option: International Crisis Group
Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 6 / Trend , E.Ostapenko/
An alternative transport corridor through Tajikistan, instead of Kyrgyzstan, aimed for transporting Nato non-military goods to Afghanistan is not the best option, as the Central Asian region is very complicated. Difficulties may occur, said International Crisis Group analyst Paul Quinn-Judge.
"Situation in the Central Asia is much more complicated than it seems to Washington," Central Asia Project Director Paul Quinn-Judge said in a telephone conversation from Bishkek.
Reuters quoted U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan Tracey Ann Jacobson as saying on Feb. 6 that Tajikistan is ready to provide an air corridor to transport Nato non-military goods to Afghanistan.
Given a number of transportation difficulties that emerged on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border last month, NATO countries see Tajikistan as a possible transit point for non-military goods, as Tajikistan has the longest border on Afghanistan among CIS countries - 1,344 kilometers.
On Feb. 5, Kyrgyzstan officially announced shutdown of a U.S. base on the territory of the Manas Airport in Bishkek. The base has been used since 2001 to support U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.
Washington says the Central Asian route is most convenient, said Quinn-Judge. However, he believes that route through Tajikistan is a better option than through Pakistan, but yet is not the best one. For obvious reasons the U.S. may face unexpected difficulties here, he said.
"First, infrastructure is very weak here," said Quinn-Judge, adding that another reason is very low standard of living and development in Central Asian states.
Land cargo transit through Tajikistan is being discussed. An agreement may be signed at a meeting between Tajikistan President and the European Commission in Brussels next week, Reuters reported.
According to Quinn-Judge, the U.S. will consider building a second bridge crossing the trans-boundary Panj River. The first bridge worth $37 million was commissioned in August 2007.
The transfer of the military base to Tajikistan is largely dependent on Russia, said Quinn-Judge.
"Russia has made it clear that it disapproves presence of Americans at the Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan," he said.
Quinn-Judge said perhaps Russia will agree to opening of a U.S. military base in Tajikistan or they [the Tajikistan authorities] will ask some money from Russia to avoid opening.Do you have any feedback? Contact our journalist at [email protected]