Pakistani officials say the US-led Nato military coalition in Afghanistan has offered to import vital supplies through Gwadar, calling it a much shorter and economically viable route into landlocked Afghanistan.
Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Hasil Bizenjo, says Nato representatives proposed the idea at a recent meeting he convened with local and international business leaders.
“They [Nato] are very interested and we are working on it,” Bizenjo told VOA in an interview.
The coalition of about 16,000 troops, known as Resolute Support, mostly consists of Americans advising and assisting Afghan forces in their battle against the Taliban and other militant groups.
The military mission is dependent on ground lines of communication and air lines of communication, known as GLOC and ALOC, through Pakistan for receiving supplies.
Currently, Nato supplies are shipped through the Karachi Port, where they then are placed on trucks and transported on a week-long journey to neighboring Afghanistan via the northwestern Torkham border crossing.
“NATO told us it would be extremely convenient for them in terms of quick transportation of supplies from Gwadar directly to Kandahar. They are very interested and we are working on it,” Bizenjo told VOA in an interview.
The Gwadar Port is in Balochistan adjoining Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, which hosts one of the five US military bases in the war-shattered country.
Gwadar port is connected to the Chaman border crossing with Kandahar through a newly constructed highway, enabling truck convoys to reach Afghanistan in fewer than 24 hours.
Bizenjo said companies dealing in Afghan transit trade also want their cargo to be shipped completely through Gwadar.
“Another meeting with Pakistani business and Nato representatives and Afghan transit trade dealers has also been scheduled to further the discussions, Bizenjo said, without saying when.