Washington: The United States military is expanding its Central Asian supply routes to the war in Afghanistan in wake of deteriorating relations with Pakistan, fearing that the routes going through the South Asian country could be endangered, a US newspaper reported.
Citing unnamed Pentagon officials, the newspaper said that in 2009, the United States moved 90 per cent of its military surface cargo through the Pakistani port of Karachi and then through mountain passes into Afghanistan.
Now almost 40 per cent of surface cargo arrives in Afghanistan from the north, along a patchwork of Central Asian rail and road routes that the Pentagon calls the Northern Distribution Network, the report said.
The military is pushing to raise the northern network’s share to as much as 75 per cent by the end of this year, the paper said.
In addition, the US government is negotiating expanded agreements with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other countries that would allow for delivery of additional supplies to the Afghan war zone, the paper said.
The US also wants permission to withdraw vehicles and other equipment from Afghanistan as the US military prepares to pull out one-third of its forces by September 2012, the paper noted.