The United States is discussing with Central Asian states the possibility of transit flights through their airspace to American military, reconnaissance and other military aircraft. This was announced on Wednesday at a meeting with reporters, answering questions from a TASS correspondent, the head of the Transport Command (TRANS) of the US Armed Forces (AF) General of the Army, Steve Lions.
At the same time, he clarified that we are talking about a new initiative being implemented under the leadership of the State Department, supplementing the so-called Northern Distribution Network (CDS), which the Pentagon has actively used in the relatively recent past to supply its troops stationed in Afghanistan. The CDS covered a number of former Soviet republics. The United States transported both personnel and various cargoes on it. Lyons confirmed that the CDS still exists and continues to be used by the US Armed Forces, although to a much lesser extent than before. Clark Cooper, US Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs, spoke about new plans in September in an interview with reporters, in which TASS correspondent participated, as about creating a "northern access corridor."
"The northern distribution network you are talking about was created ... in order to provide numerous options, numerous ways to support [US] troops in Afghanistan, as well as NATO missions there. These access routes, as well as all the physical processes ... still exist today, "Lyons said. According to him, the “Northern Access Corridor” is a broader initiative. ”“ The same countries are involved. However, it [this initiative] is designed to facilitate the transit flights of combat units of the Air Force, reconnaissance aircraft, air tankers, and other platforms of this kind, "the US military commander explained.
"My discussions with the countries of the region show that they are very susceptible to this idea. Of course, there are other political considerations in the region that they [Central Asian countries] must reckon with. So I would say that this work is not completed <.. .> This work continues, and it is led by the US State Department, "said the commander of TRANS.
He was asked to clarify whether the CDS is still alive, and if so, how actively it is used. “She is alive,” the general replied. As he stated, the "level of requirements" for providing the American military contingent in Afghanistan is now "significantly lower" than several years ago, since the main US military units were withdrawn from this South Asian country. "Therefore, the activity level of these networks [СРС] is much lower than in the past," Lyons added.
Statements by the Assistant Secretary of State
Meanwhile, Clark Cooper on September 12 actually admitted that the United States was trying to oust Russia from military-technical cooperation with the Central Asian republics. He warned that the United States plans to pursue such a policy without regard to the level of US military presence in Afghanistan and the further development of the situation there.
"If we look at Afghanistan more broadly, on the regional aspect, then, yes, we are exploring where there will be potential shifts in the military concept with regard to the Afghan security forces and potential shifts in the concept with respect to their [Afghans] government abilities. Why? Because, as I mentioned, there are partner countries that may not have been historically connected to the United States - satellite countries of the former Soviet Union [meaning former Soviet republics], with which we work to guarantee more cohesive a genuine “northern access corridor” no matter what happens in the Afghan peace talks or reconciliation, ”the diplomat said.
"Probably one thing will not change significantly: we will continue to follow the same course with respect to the" Northern Access Corridor "to ensure that they [of the region’s countries] have the potential and means to ensure more substantial interoperability with us [USA] , as well as leading them away from these historic supply lines [with arms and military equipment] with Russia.