Russian govt. approves new Afghan transit deal

Afghanistan Mountains, Military VehiclesMOSCOW, November 23 (RIA Novosti)-The Russian government on Tuesday approved an agreement with NATO allowing the alliance to carry supplies to and from Afghanistan via Russian territory.

The NATO Lisbon Summit Declaration on Saturday welcomed "the new extended arrangements offered by Russia to facilitate ISAF transit to and from Afghanistan."
[Original of image copyright (c) 2010. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036]

The new deal on the so-called reverse transit allows NATO to ship armored vehicles and other equipment from Afghanistan back to Europe by the same route through Central Asia and Russia.

The bloc already uses routes through Russia and neighboring Central Asian states but current arrangements allow only for the transport of non-lethal supplies such as food and fuel.

NATO has pledged to hand over responsibility for security in Afghanistan to Afghans by the end of 2014, but also vowed not to leave the country to face the Taliban threat alone.

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