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BAKU, August 6 (Itar-Tass) - Azerbaijan will continue making a contribution to operations in Afghanistan beyond 2014, Defense Minister Safar Abiyev said at talks with American counterpart Chuck Hagel on Tuesday, the press service of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.
On his visit to the U.S., Abiyev said this pledge had already “received NATO’s support”. "Joint efforts in the fight against terrorism and joint participation in operations of the international coalition help strengthen Azerbaijani-American cooperation,” he added.
“The participation of Azerbaijani peacekeepers in the operation to maintain peace in Afghanistan and the shipping of cargoes through Azerbaijani territory is made within the framework of cooperation between NATO and Baku,” Zakhid Orudz from the parliamentary committee for security and defense told Tass.
“Azerbaijan sees this as its contribution to international security,” he said. “Azerbaijan also provided its territory until the end of 2014 for the withdrawal of NATO’s military contingent and cargoes from Afghanistan,” the parliamentarian added, noting that before the end of 2014, Azerbaijani peacekeepers would be pulled out from Afghanistan alongside NATO forces.
Tass reported from Washington earlier that at the meeting on Tuesday, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expressed gratitude to his counterpart for the support of efforts in Afghanistan, including for Azerbaijan’s participation in the International Security Assistance Force. He also thanked Azerbaijan for providing its territory for the transportation of cargoes to Afghanistan.