US secures Asian countries' approval for allowing Afghan exit without depending on Pakistan

Washington, Feb 29 (ANI): US officials have reportedly secured approval from several Central Asian countries to move military cargo out of Afghanistan without relying mainly on land routes through Pakistan.

US Air Force General William Fraser told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that the US secured approval to move equipment through Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan and was exploring routes to move out armored vehicles as well as nonlethal supplies.

"We now have two-way approval to move equipment back out of Afghanistan," The Wall Street Journal quoted General Fraser, as saying.

He told lawmakers that Russia and Uzbekistan also endorsed reverse transit routes, the paper said.

Military logistics in Afghanistan have been complicated in recent months because of rocky relations between the U.S. and Pakistan.

Planners were forced to reroute cargo into Afghanistan late last year when Pakistan closed border crossings to US and allied supply convoys after a US airstrike claimed the lives of Pakistani troops.

General Fraser, who heads the arm of the military that oversees logistics, said that moving equipment out of landlocked Afghanistan is a daunting task, and that reopening overland supply lines across Pakistan would be crucial to withdrawal.

"We need the Pakistan [ground lines of communication] open, because of the large numbers that we're talking about that we need to bring out in a timely manner," the paper quoted him, as saying. (ANI)