Giving them another way to avoid the closed Pakistani border, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen today announced a deal with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to open a new supply route through Central Asia.
The deal will be particularly important for the European member nations looking to withdraw from Afghanistan in the next few years, as it will allow them to use an overland route, through Russia, to return their weaponry to their countries of origin.
The value of the route for those continuing with the occupation, like the United States which plans to remain through 2024, is questionable, since the overland route is dramatically more expensive than the sea route into Pakistan.
Pakistan closed its border to NATO in November in response to a US attack on their military bases. Negotiations on reopening the border have fallen through with the US refusing to apologize for the attack and ruling out ending the ongoing drone strikes against Pakistani territory.