US Holds Caucasus Talks on Transit to Afghanistan

BAKU (AFP)–US military officials have held talks with government and business representatives from Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan on the transport of supplies to Afghanistan, the US embassy in Baku said Tuesday.

The two days of talks in Baku, which concluded Tuesday, were aimed to "coordinate transportation issues that will facilitate the shipment of supplies to US, NATO and partner military forces operating in Afghanistan" through the Caucasus region, the embassy said in a statement.

It noted that the talks focused on "non-lethal supplies" and that "no military personnel are involved in the actual transportation of supplies through the Caucasus."

The United States has been seeking new transit routes to supply coalition forces in Afghanistan amid growing instability in Pakistan, its main transit route, and the announcement by Central Asian nation Kyrgyzstan last month of the closure of a key US airbase on its territory.

There are nearly 70,000 international soldiers in Afghanistan helping the government fight an extremist insurgency led by the Taliban, who were in power between 1996 and 2001.

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