U.S. to add Lithuania to Afghan supply route
The United States is to start shipping non-military cargo to Afghanistan via Lithuania, officials said on Friday, adding to the Baltic ports being used for such cargos, Times Online reported.
The U.S. goods will start flowing to Afghanistan, where a U.S.-led coalition faces growing Taliban insurgency, via Lithuania's Klaipeda port next month. Latvia began shipping non-military cargos for the United States in February last year, Reuters reported.
"Operational considerations will determine the size, frequency and contents of cargo shipped through Lithuania," the U.S. embassy in Vilnius said in a statement.
The ports are being used as part of what the United States calls the Northern Distribution Network, which takes cargo to Afghanistan across Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan as well as across the Caspian Sea from Georgia and Azerbaijan.
"This decision of the U.S. government is a result of intensive diplomatic negotiations between Vilnius and Washington over several months," the office of Lithuanian President Dalia Grybaukskaite said in a statement.
The U.S. Transportation Command plans an initial shipment of approximately 100 20-foot container equivalents via Klaipeda, with the first shipment expected to arrive in December.