The lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, will review on Friday an intergovernmental agreement with Sweden on military transit to Afghanistan via the Russian airspace.
The agreement was signed on October 11, 2011 and submitted for ratification by the Russian parliament in July this year.
The document establishes the legal base for transit of Swedish military cargoes and personnel via Russia’s airspace to support operations of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
“Transit of the Kingdom of Sweden’s weapons, military equipment, military assets and personnel via the Russian Federation’s territory shall be carried out without the payment of customs charges, duties and taxes and shall be subject to border and customs monitoring, and other types of monitoring where necessary, as determined by the Russian party,” the agreement says.
Transit is to be carried out on the basis of general or one-time permits issued by the appropriate Russian authorities.
Sweden has been in charge of the military effort primarily based in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif since 2006. The Swedish area of responsibility, TST-MeS, includes four provinces, and has a total area equivalent to one-fifth of the area of Sweden.
The Swedish military contingent in Afghanistan comprises 500 servicemen.
NATO has pledged to hand over responsibility for security in Afghanistan to Afghani police and military by the end of 2014, but also vowed to help rebuild the war-torn Central Asian country into a viable, peaceful, and functional state during a decade following the withdrawal of foreign troops.