In early April, a Tajik driver died when an avalanche near the border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan crushed his truck, smashing its contents. The tragic episode highlights the danger of an environmental incident posed by the transport of hazardous materials along the Northern Distribution Network.
The network, or NDN, is a key supply route for US and NATO forces fighting in Afghanistan. It can be used to transport a variety of hazardous materials to and from Afghanistan. Although US Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) has strict guidelines for how these items can be shipped, fears remain that an accident on either the Uzbek rail route, or the Kazakh-Kyrgyz-Tajik (KKT) road route could have significant environmental consequences.
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Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in Central Asian affairs