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U.S. Sees Deal On Tajik Transit For Afghan Cargo

After attacks on NATO supply trucks in Pakistan, US seek new routes
DUSHANBE (Reuters) -- The United States and Tajikistan expect soon to finalize an agreement that would allow the transit of nonlethal supplies to Afghanistan, the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe has said.

Russia gave the go ahead for the first cargo of nonlethal supplies to cross its territory this month. The cargo went by rail across Russia and Kazakhstan and is currently in Uzbekistan awaiting transit across the Uzbek border with Afghanistan.

A deal with Tajikistan would give the United States the added option of using the former Soviet state's border, which is closer to U.S. military bases in Afghanistan.

"I think we have the support of the Tajik government," the U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan, Tracey Ann Jacobson, told the "Sobytiya" weekly in an interview published in Russian.

"We are now working on a few details. But I hope we will have an agreement soon," the ambassador was quoted as saying.

A spokesman for the embassy confirmed the comments.

Once a deal is struck, trains could go directly to Tajikistan, where cargos would be loaded onto trucks and driven across the Tajik-Afghan border.

Washington is seeking to find new supply routes for its troops fighting Taliban forces after militants stepped up attacks on convoys through Pakistan.