The United States and NATO want to open or expand routes through Central Asia to deliver supplies to a military mission in Afghanistan expected to grow by tens of thousands of troops, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Citing American and alliance diplomats and military officials, the paper wrote that the plan to open the new routes reflects an American-led effort to seek a more reliable alternative to the Khyber Pass, closed by Pakistani security forces for three days this week for an offensive against militants who had threatened the supply line.

The officials told the Times that delicate negotiations were under way not only with states bordering Afghanistan but also with Russia.

American officials told the Times that they were trying to allay concerns by promising that the supplies would be hauled only by commercial companies and would not include weapons or munitions, nor would additional American bases be required on their territory.

Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan share Afghanistan’s northern border and have road routes into Afghanistan. Kyrgyzstan, farther to the north, allows American military cargo planes access to its airfields.

Officials involved in the talks told the Times that these countries appeared eager to increase their role, both to help bring stability to the region and to benefit commercially.

The paper reported that Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, chief of the American military’s Transportation Command, quietly visited nations along Afghanistan’s northern border last month, citing American military officials who declined to identify the countries by name.

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