US and Pakistan to sign MoU on Weapons Transit
US-Pakistani agreement stops transport of arms into Afghanistan via Pakistan
16-claused NATO supply resumption agreement was signed today at
Rawalpindi. It will be effective till December 31, 2015 and could be extended for one year after consultations. The agreement which has been prepared according to the UN charter will not allow
the transport of arms and ammunition into Afghanistan via Pakistan. However military equipment for the Afghan National Army will be allowed. Transport of non-lethal cargo which includes food and medicine will be allowed in containers measuring 20 by 40 feet.
This agreement was signed by Lt. General (Retired) Asif yasin Malik, who was recently appointed Secretary of Defense. His last posting was Peshawar Corp Commander. From the ISAF side, the Acting Ambassador of the United States in Pakistan, Mr.Richard E. Hoagland, will sign the agreement. Hoagland is considered a Central Asia expert, and previously, he was US Ambassador to
Kazakhstan, 2008-2011. Earlier, Ambassador Hoagland served as US Ambassador to Tajikistan, 2003-2006, and was the US Charge d'Affaires to Turkmenistan, July 2007-July 2008.
Prior to that, Ambassador Hoagland was Director of the Office of Caucasus and Central Asian Affairs in the Bureau of Europe and Eurasian Affairs, Department of State, June 2001-July 2003. He was a focal person for tailoring US strategy of trying to get access to Afghanistan from Central Asian states however this strategy did not bear much fruits therefore US had to start negotiations again with Pakistan to get the passage for NATO
Two routes will be used by containers carrying NATO supplies.
Containers on the southern route will travel to Afghanistan from Karachi(Bin Qasim Port) via Chaman. On the northern route, containers will travel from Karachi (Bin Qasim Port) via Torkham to Afghanistan.
The MoU further states that there will be no warehouses or storage
facilities provided for American goods and no new “no objection” certificates (NOCs) will be required for the transit. Pakistan will also be allowed to stop the transit of goods which falls outside the parameters of the MoU.
Pakistan will also provide facilities for the security and quick transfer of the cargo and will keep the US government informed about the monitoring and transit points of the cargo. Containers traveling to Afghanistan will be bound to return via Pakistan.
There will be no tax or duty charged on the containers however commercial carriers will have to pay fees. New fees can also be introduced for the quick transfer of cargo.
Pakistan's Defense Ministry will act as a Central Coordination Authority and review the daily operations and implementation of the supply route.
Officials from both sides will meet once every two months to evaluate the implementation of the MoU. According to the draft, any misunderstanding will be cleared through mutual understanding and not a third party.
It is clearly written in the draft that commercial carriers will be responsible for any damage to the goods. Both countries will also have to inform each other in writing if they want to discontinue the MoU.