Azerbaijan, Baku, June 18 / Trend /
Arzu Naghiyev, Trend commentator
U.S. officials have been negotiating with representatives of member states of Northern Distribution Network (NDN) for the withdrawal of troops through their territory from Afghanistan in 2014.
NDN consists of multiple routes and is designed for the transportation of military cargo from Europe to Afghanistan through Central Asia.
At the initial stage the network was established for supplies to the U.S. and NATO military, and its only one-sided activity was planned. Creation of multiple routes within the network was mainly due to the unstable situation in Pakistan.
The first route passed through the South Caucasus and Central Asia and mainly used the railroad tracks. Then a route was established, running from Iraq and Turkey to Afghanistan and passing through Central Asia. The third route originates from the ports of the Baltic Sea (Tallinn, Riga, Klaipeda) and run to Afghanistan through Belarus, Russia and Central Asia. Another route begins in Vladivostok, on the Pacific coast of Russia, passes through Siberia, Kazakhstan and Central Asia to Afghanistan. In addition, a large number of goods were delivered by trucks from Germany to Bishkek, which then were sent through the south of Tajikistan to Afghanistan.
In addition to NATO members, NDN also includes Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
According to the agreement of the network's member countries it's prohibited to transport weapons through these countries, transport of armored equipment is allowed only in disassembled form.
At present, to withdraw military equipment from Afghanistan NATO has reached agreements with several governments on the use of territories of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
In connection with Pakistan's refusal to provide its territory for troop withdrawal, the United States, using the NDN, loses $100 million monthly. The reason for refusal is Pakistan's dissatisfaction with increasing civilian casualties because of use of U.S. drones to fight al-Qaeda. Islamabad calls for an apology from the United States for the death of its 20 border guards in November last year. U.S., in turn, threatens to abandon planned for 2013 aid to Pakistan worth $1 billion, if Pakistan does not open a transit route, does not cease to support the terrorist Haqqani Network existing on the territory of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and does not release the Pakistani doctor Shakel Afridi, who helped U.S. intelligence to locate bin Laden and who has been sentenced to 33 years.
As time passes, it is clear that the process of implementation of set conditions is difficult. So, with time, the role of Northern Distribution Network continues to grow.