Kazakhstan approved an agreement with NATO to use the Central Asian country’s Caspian Sea ports of Kuryk and Aktau as transit points for nonmilitary cargo to Afghanistan. The deal amends an agreement signed by NATO and Kazakhstan in 2010.
NATO sought alternate routes to avoid parts of Pakistan that the alliance deemed insufficiently stable, according to a statement from Kazakhstan’s Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Defense and Security.
NATO would ship cargo across the Caspian from Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan and then carry it by rail to Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.
Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov stressed that the agreement represents the interests of his country as a strategic partner of the United States in its efforts to stabilize Afghanistan.
“Kazakhstan is ready to render all possible assistance to the forces of the anti-terrorist coalition and those countries supporting peace, security and sustainable development in Afghanistan,” he said.
About 13,000 tons of cargo has transited through Kazakhstan to Afghanistan, according to the Kazakh Ministry on Investments and Development. Kazakh officials acknowledged that the agreement with NATO will help develop the country’s transportation and logistics infrastructure.
Sources: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Eurasianet, Atameken Business Channel, Caspian News, Trend News Agency