Responses to a Pentagon-issued request for information about sourcing fuel in Uzbekistan appear to suggest that the Uzbek-Afghan corridor of the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) is a morass of inefficiency, arbitrariness and “informal” payments.
In documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), respondents to the Pentagon query made stark comments about severe delays at the Uzbek-Afghan border, and one – a major partner to USAID in Afghanistan – said corrupt payments “might be required to keep business moving.”
The NDN is a supply line for troops serving in Afghanistan spanning Europe, Russia and Central Asia. It was developed by US Transportation Command, US Central Command, Defense Logistics Agency, and the State Department, in conjunction with a variety of regional commercial and governmental actors. [For background see EurasiaNet’s archive].
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Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in Central Asian affairs.