“Kommersant”: The U.S. will withdraw from Afghanistan via Russia, bypassing Uzbekistan?
Own sources in the Russian Foreign Ministry told the correspondent of the Moscow newspaper “Kommersant” that Russia and NATO came to the final negotiations on the so-called “reverse multimodal transit” from Afghanistan . ”We are discussing this issue with NATO – confirmed a senior diplomat .- The multimodal transit back – it’s a way to increase the extraction efficiency of the NATO contingent in Afghanistan, using different modes of transport within the same route.” According to others, in the near future disposal of the Government on this subject must approve Vladimir Putin.
Figure © «Kommersant»
Now, the magazine writes, when the acute issue of withdrawal from Afghanistan, U.S. forces and NATO, the Western countries think about the safe route of return transit, which would have a good bandwidth. ”This theme is also important because of Uzbekistan, whose territory is actively used for the supply of goods to Afghanistan, does not want to miss them in the opposite direction,” – writes “Kommersant” .
“The Uzbeks are afraid of importation of drugs and weapons. Go after entire trains with military equipment, to check which is not so simple “ - said in an interview with an unnamed Russian diplomat said.
Moscow appears to be similar does not suffer from phobias. Negotiations on this subject, talk to her friends Russian diplomats began eighteen months ago with the proposal of the American side to think of such a scheme, which would reduce the time of rail transportation. ”The idea was to pick up in Central Russia, the city where you could create a logistical base to the customs terminal – Foreign Ministry official said .- Goods from Afghanistan would be thrown back by air, and then went by train to Riga or Tallinn.” According to interlocutors, “b” for the organization of trans-shipment point considered several options. Decided to stay at Ulyanovsk, whose airport is suitable for such purposes in terms of location of railway lines.
Thus, under the new scheme, according to the newspaper “Kommersant”, the goods will be NATO, bypassing Uzbekistan, delivered aircraft, including Russian, from Afghanistan to Russia, which will form the trains for shipment to Europe. ”It will save much time and money Westerners. Planes have to fly at much shorter distances, and therefore do not need to refuel on the way “- explains the interest of NATO officials in a similar route, the Russian Foreign Ministry official.
Apart from the obvious economic benefits of transit through Russia, the publication mentions political gain. ”Moscow has always been able to say that taking an active part in stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan, providing a seamless supply partners, first of all necessary forces and then to comfort care,” – writes “Kommersant” .
Note earlier refusal to grant its territory of Uzbekistan for the return transit of troops and equipment from NATO in Afghanistan is not reported. In contrast, post-Soviet states of Central Asia, in particular, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, were considered by observers as the most likely U.S. allies in the issue of how to supply troops in Afghanistan by the northern route of supply and withdrawal of troops after the war. One of the indirect evidence for this is that yesterday the U.S. State Department lifted restrictions on military assistance to Uzbekistan. The relevant document was signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.