Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Things We Never Hear About: Tenuous Supply Line Through Pakistan to Afghanistan

Fighting a war in a land locked country like Afghanistan has many logistical hurdles. Right now the main route is through Pakistan and it's become more difficult to control. The Cato Institute has an article explaining the difficulty:

Militants operating in and around the Pakistani tribal region of Khyber Agency have repeatedly hijacked supply vehicles entering Afghanistan. Earlier this month, gunmen torched more than 160 vehicles near the Pakistani border city of Peshawar, the biggest assault yet on the vital military supply line. Last March, dozens of oil tankers were attacked in the tribal town of Landi Kotal. If the Pakistani supply routes are severed, Washington's options are not good.

Relying on providing enough supplies through the air using planes off of aircraft carriers in the Indian Ocean is not realistic. That is true even with the current troop levels in Afghanistan, much less with the 20,000 to 30,000 additional forces earmarked for deployment in 2009.

For the time being, the U.S. and NATO will have to rely on Pakistan. America's foreign policy in the region remains hostage to events in that increasingly unstable country. Washington would be wise to take steps immediately to repair relations with either Tehran or Moscow if it wishes to have another feasible option for sustaining the Afghanistan mission.

It's sad irony that both NATO and the Taliban/Al Qaida are supplying their principles from Pakistan. The question arises again: What the hell do we do with Pakistan?


  1. Use the opportunity to strengthen ties with Pakistan and further empower/embolden the Pakistani military to actually control their country. (they don't have control of the Taliban influenced region)
    Think of how easy it is to supply Pakistan with armaments if the supply depots are literally right there.

  2. Anon: That's a bit naive. The US already gives $2 billion annually in military aid and helps train their army. It's not that they aren't "empowering" the Pakistani army. It's that the Pakistanis are playing a double game.

  3. A new logistal route is important, but the issue you are avoiding is radical Islam. Every govt is playing a double game when it comes to this, with the possible exception of China. Do you think pulling-out is going to fix this situation too? Talk about naive! Realize that Waziristan is choice #2 as a terrorist training ground. They would much rather have free reign in Afghan.

  4. Pulling out won't fix the situation, but maybe fixing the situation is a wasted effort. It's like Vietnam, ultimately, who cares if they became commie? It made them the poorest country in the region, let them have it. Now they're making Nikes.

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