OCT. 26 – A report pours cold water on the notion that a NATO supply route is creating a new Silk Road
STORY >>>> The US government has been cheerleading the positive impact that NATO’s supply chain to Afghanistan will have in Central Asia. A new north-south Silk Road, they like to call it.
But a report published this month by the New York-based Open Society Foundations suggested that in four key areas — building inter-state cooperation, tackling corruption, strengthening transport links and improving the lives of ordinary people — the so-called Northern Distribution Network (NDN) has yet to make any significant impact.
It’s an important report as it is possibly one of the first heavy-weight assessments of the NDN.
The Open Society Foundations report estimated that it costs $17,500 to shift a container to Afghanistan through NDN. At roughly 750 containers a week that’s $682.5m a year.
On top of this are transit fees paid to Russia and the Central Asian states of 500m. Nearly half of this goes to Uzbekistan, which holds the Soviet-era railway to Afghanistan that is bearing most of the load.
The NDN has made, and will continue to make, a significant impact on the politics and economics of Central Asia. The Open Society Foundations’ report, though, states that it is
still some way off acting as a catalyst for a new Silk Road.
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This story was first published in issue 110 of the weekly Central Asia & South Caucasus News. To subscribe and for more information click here