View Full Version : Supply routes to Afghanistan

11-14-2007, 11:34 PM
A few weeks ago I commented on the overland supply routes used by ISAF / NATO and USA via Pakistan, found just:


The interesting part I quote:

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said the supply lines are "very real areas of concern" because about 75 percent of the supplies, including 40 percent of vehicle fuel supplies, either go through or over Pakistan.

"We hope it doesn't come to this," Morrell told reporters. "Right now we've seen no indications that any of our supply lines have been impacted."


04-28-2008, 11:57 AM
Interesting McClatchy story on Khyber Agency:

U.S. Afghan supply lines depend on Islamic militant (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/world/story/34902.html)- McClatchy, 25 April.

The only thing standing between Pakistan's Taliban and the lifeline for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan may be an Islamist warlord who controls the area near Pakistan's famed Khyber Pass.

In an interview with McClatchy, Mangal Bagh, who leads a group called Lashkar-i-Islam, voiced his disdain for America but said he's rebuffed an offer from the Taliban to join them.

Truckloads of food, equipment and fuel for NATO troops wind through the Khyber Pass daily to the bustling border at Torkham. Last month, Taliban fighters bombed fuel trucks waiting at Torkham to cross into Afghanistan, and last week, fighting between Bagh's men and a pocket of Taliban resistance closed the highway for several days.

Locals said that Bagh wouldn't allow Taliban fighters to cross into the Khyber agency, which is part of Pakistan's tribal belt and is now largely under his control ...

Bagh's stance has led to allegations that he has ties to Pakistani authorities or to the country's Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
One of the senior members of Lashkar-i-Islam, Mistry-Sahib, denied any connection with the Pakistan state.

"We don't want to fight the government (unlike the Taliban); it is our country," said Mistry. "We just want peace in our area. We have no connection with the government because their policies are not right."

Pakistani authorities appear to have withdrawn from Bara and much of Khyber agency, and they've taken no recent action to rein in Bagh ...

12-07-2008, 01:09 PM
Following this BBC report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7769758.stm

I thought a thread on this subject appropriate.

The reliance upon the use of Karachi port and private hauliers (trucks) to take supplies into Afghanistan, mainly via the Khyber Pass, has appeared in other threads before. One citation was that 90% of all supplies came this way; I suspect some European NATO partners use another route, which I suspect is via Iran.

Reliance = vulnerabilituy and without Pakistani agreement I fail to see how our campaign in Afghanistan can continue.

I am aware that attacks have happened before and that the Pakistani authorities have twice recently temporarily closed the Khyber Pass.

SWJ reactions?

Ken White
12-07-2008, 03:45 PM
get worse before it gets better. The alternative route through Russia is unlikely to fill the void.

12-07-2008, 05:47 PM
My Dad (ret COL) pulled his final stint at MTMC (Now SDDC) in 2001-2002 when Afghanistan was kicking off. They tried railing some test shipments of supplies from the Black Sea across the former Soviet Union. They abandoned the idea after 50%+ pilferage of the containers enroute.

Ken White
12-07-2008, 06:38 PM
ILA / ILWU look like pikers. Anything 0ver 25% is considered significant and reason to change.

12-07-2008, 07:42 PM
From the NATO (http://www.nato-otan.org/docu/update/2008/06-june/e0613c.html) website

On Afghanistan, ministers expressed their common interest in the establishment of peace and stability in the country. They welcomed the arrangements agreed at the Bucharest Summit for the land transit through Russia of non-military supplies for the NATO-led force in Afghanistan and the NRC's decision to continue cooperating in providing counter-narcotics training to Afghan and Central Asian personnel.

From the Eurasia (http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insightb/articles/pp112108.shtml) website

Germany has became the first NATO nation to win Russian permission to use the country’s railways to transit military goods bound for Afghanistan.
NATO officials see the Russian-German transit deal as an encouraging sign.
It is the first major breakthrough in Russian-Western military relations since the Georgian conflict in August.
It is also the first time Russia has permitted a NATO ally to transit military supplies via an overland route.
But Russia has been careful to avoid giving the impression it is returning to business as usual with the Atlantic alliance, which indefinitely suspended cooperation in the NATO-Russia Council to protest Moscow’s actions in Georgia.
A statement posted on the website of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry on November 20 says Russia wants to deepen cooperation with the alliance on Afghanistan. But the statement only refers to bilateral transit agreements concluded with individual allies such as Germany, and does not mention a NATO-Russia land-transit accord signed on the margins of the NATO summit in Bucharest in April.
NATO officials play down the distinction.

From the WSJ (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122864525687885807.html?mod=loomia&loomia_si=t0:a16:g12:r4:c0.21087:b0) Website

Up to 75% of supplies for Western forces in landlocked Afghanistan pass through Pakistan after being unloaded from ships at the Arabian sea port of Karachi. NATO is already seeking an alternative route through Central Asia.

12-08-2008, 05:51 AM
Anyone else catch this (http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2008/12/taliban_storm_two_pe.php)?


The Taliban launched military assaults on two shipping terminals in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, destroying more than 160 NATO military vehicles and supplies destined for Afghanistan. Security in the northwestern city is deteriorating as the Taliban seeks to control the region and shut down NATO's logistical chain to Afghansitan.

The first attack took place at the Portward Logistic Terminal. An estimated 200 to 300 Taliban fighters fired rockets at the front gate, destroying the entrance and leveling the wall. The nine security guards on duty fled in the face of the massed Taliban attack.

Taliban fighters then fired rocket propelled grenades into the compound and proceeded to set fire to the NATO vehicles parked inside. "There were dozens of them. They started firing, they used rockets, causing a lot of damage," the manager of the shipping terminal told the Associated Press.

The Taliban force rampaged in the compound for more than forty minutes before Peshawar police responded. The Taliban force disengaged after clashing with the police, leaving the terminal in ruins. "They were shouting Allahu Akbar (God is Great) and Down With America," a security guard told Reuters.

The attack was devastating. One security guard was killed and at least 106 NATO vehicles, including more than 70 Humvees, were destroyed. "In this incident 96 flat trucks and six containers were destroyed, including a 40-foot container," the terminal manager said. "Also armored jeeps, trucks and fire brigade vehicles."

A second attack took place at the Al Faisal Terminal. A large Taliban force stormed the terminal after overwhelming the security guards. Three Pakistanis, including the terminal watchman, were killed in the attack. Sixty-two Humvees and other vehicles were reported destroyed in the attack. (emphasis mine)

So 130 M1114's at over $1 mil apiece were destroyed?!?! Holy Sh*t.:eek::mad:

Ken White
12-08-2008, 06:01 AM
in the thread where you said your Dad mentioned the pilferage going through the Black sea, I think...

12-08-2008, 06:03 AM
in the thread where you said your Dad mentioned the pilferage going through the Black sea, I think...

I guess I'm on a doublepost roll today. Time for bed.

UPDATE: Looked back at that thread, I guess the picture on the Long War Journal jolted me awake - Davidbfpo's post didn't spark me to click the link.

12-08-2008, 06:42 AM
I guess I'm on a doublepost roll today. Time for bed.

UPDATE: Looked back at that thread, I guess the picture on the Long War Journal jolted me awake - Davidbfpo's post didn't spark me to click the link.

Well Neil, since you're already on a roll...

Not much of a surprise going after our logistics. The Africans have been doing that for decades albeit not on the same scale.

'bout time we are permitted to level the playing field and take them on with the same tenacity and lack of respect.

12-08-2008, 11:30 AM
So 130 M1114's at over $1 mil apiece were destroyed?!?! Holy Sh*t.:eek::mad:

The last time that I saw money burn up that quickly was when I visited the DFAC on LSA Anaconda. This is huge.

12-08-2008, 08:33 PM
It's happend a THIRD time now.:eek: Pakastan apparently has little ability to secure it's internal routes now. And we've lost a BCT's worth of wheeled vehicles, plus god knows what in CONNEX's.


Taliban destroy 50 NATO supply trucks in third attack in Peshawar

By Bill Roggio
December 8, 2008 12:27 PM

Taliban raiders destroyed another NATO supply column at a shipping terminal in the insurgency-wracked Northwest Frontier Province. The latest attack has caused Pakistan to shut down the NATO supply route through Peshawar.

The Taliban launched an attack on the Bilal Terminal on Peshawar's Ring Road early Monday morning Pakistan time. More than 50 vehicles laden with supplies destined for NATO were destroyed after a Taliban force stormed the compound and burned the vehicles, a senior US intelligence source told The Long War Journal. The size of the Taliban unit is unknown.

Taliban fighters also fired rocket propelled grenades at NATO convoys passing through the area, however no vehicles were reported damaged.

The attack at the Bilal Terminal is the third such strike in two days. Early Sunday, the Taliban destroyed more than 160 NATO vehicles, including an estimated 60 to 70 Humvees, in two separate attacks on the Portward Logistic Terminal and the Al Faisal Terminal in Peshawar. An estimated 200 to 300 Taliban fighters stormed the Portward terminal, while the size of the attack force at the Al Faisal Terminal is unknown.

Pakistani security forces were not protecting the Bilal Terminal despite yesterday's attacks. The Pakistani government said NATO convoys would be accompanied and protected by Pakistani military units.

A US military spokeswoman described yesterday's attacks in Peshawar as "militarily insignificant." More than 70 percent of NATO supplies destined for Afghanistan move through Peshawar.

Today's attack has prompted the Pakistani government to close down the vital NATO supply route from Peshawar to Kabul, according to Press TV. This is the second time the Khyber Pass supply route has been closed since Nov. 11.

The Pakistani government shut down the vital Khyber Pass crossing two other times this year. The first time, the government closed the crossing to protest US airstrikes against Taliban and al Qaeda operatives sheltering in the tribal areas. The second time was in response to the poor security situation.

The Taliban have stepped up their attacks on NATO supply lines moving through Peshawar over the past several months. The Taliban are also stepping up pressure on the Peshawar. Police and government officials fear they have lost control of the security situation in the provincial capital.

Devil's Advocate
12-08-2008, 09:05 PM
...this is just about a perfect series of ops. A tactical action that has operational and potentially strategic effect. The MSR is closed, as Cavguy mentioned, the numbers are significant, and we are left with few alternatives to couter the attacks.

If the actual purpose of these ops were to get us to increase our cross border attacks and undermine the Pak govt, I think those possibilities are good.

IMO, increased attacks will greatly benefit the ACM winter recruiting drive.

12-08-2008, 09:22 PM
I really really want to be able to convince myself that these attacks were not coordinated at some level with the Pakistan government, yet somehow I can not. As means to take attention away from the Mumbai attacks and to shore up $$$ for Pak "anti-terrorist" endeavors, it seems almost perfect. No evidence what-so-ever, only Paks bizarre behavior up until this point. Realistically we have assume they did not have Pakistani support or we look as crazy as 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Bah, this whole region gives me headaches and I'm only a spectator.

12-08-2008, 09:48 PM
I've merged the two threads and here is a link (http://kingsofwar.wordpress.com/2008/12/08/attacks-on-nato-supply-lines-in-pakistan/) to some thoughts on the attack on Kings of War blogsite (although the relevance of the first photo escapes me).


12-09-2008, 02:49 AM
Here are three reports giving the local viewpoint. If "500 hardened militants" can storm Peshawar (last report), the Pakis have a real governance problem there.

Militants torch 150 NATO trucks in Pakistan, kill guard
December 7th, 2008 - 11:32 pm ICT by IANS -

Islamabad, Dec 7 (DPA) Some 300 heavily-armed rebels attacked two parking bays in north-western Pakistan full of vehicles used by US and NATO contractors for making deliveries to Afghanistan, killing a guard and torching dozens of trucks, the police said Sunday.The attack took place in the early hours at Al-Faisal International and Port World Logistics terminals on the outskirts of Peshawar city, where the trucks are parked at night. ....
The attack on the Al-Faisal and World Port terminals was the second this week. On Monday [1 Dec], rebels killed two drivers and destroyed at least a dozen lorries loaded with NATO supplies in a pre-dawn attack.


Militants torch 50 NATO trucks in Pakistan (Lead)
December 8th, 2008 - 7:21 pm ICT by IANS -

Islamabad Dec 8 (IANS) Another 50 trucks carrying goods for US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan were torched by militants Monday morning, bringing to more than 200 the total number of vehicles in less than 48 hours.Officials confirmed that this was the second attack in less than 48 hours in which several military vehicles and other military supplies were gutted to ash. Though there is no claim by any militants groups, Pakistani security forces said that Taliban are apparently behind the attacks on the outskirts of Peshawar, the capital of the restive North West Frontier Province.


Peshawar heading on Beiruts path
December 8th, 2008 - 1:49 pm ICT by ANI -

Peshawar, Dec.8 (ANI): Peshawar is once again in the news, but for all the wrong reasons.

Last week, a car blast rocked the historic Qisakhawani bazaar killing three people and injuring several others. Then, trucks carrying NATO supplies were set on fire by extremists December 7.
This was the second attack within a week on the terminal in Peshawar. On December 1, two persons were killed and over two dozen trucks were damaged when militants attacked the complex.
High profile kidnapping and murders have added to the fears of Peshawar residents. There are fears in Peshawar that over 500 hardened militants camping in Khyber Agency may storm it in the near future.


Sounds something like early Vietnam when the B-57s were mortared on their ramps - Bien Hoa Air Base, 1 Nov 1964 - pic and story here (http://www.vspa.com/k9/attack.htm) and here (http://www.vectorsite.net/avcanbra_3.html).

12-16-2008, 08:01 PM
After recent events the local Pakistani drivers stop work on delivering supplies to coalition in Afg: http://www.rttnews.com/Content/GeneralNews.aspx?Node=B1&Id=802229

IIRC the Pakistani haulage sector is dominated by Afghans.

Pause for thought; higher wages maybe?


12-16-2008, 08:08 PM
..with more to come in "weeks, not months."

Nato plans to open a new supply route to Afghanistan through Russia and Central Asia in the next eight weeks following a spate of attacks on its main lifeline through Pakistan this year, Nato and Russian sources have told The Times.

Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the former Soviet Central Asian states that lie between Russia and Afghanistan, have agreed in principle to the railway route and are working out the small print with Nato, the sources said.

“It'll be weeks rather than months,” said one Nato official. “Two months max.”

From the same article, a third route:

However, Nato and the United States are simultaneously in talks on opening a third supply route through the secretive Central Asian state of Turkmenistan to prevent Russia from gaining a stranglehold on supplies to Afghanistan, the sources said. Non-lethal supplies, including fuel, would be shipped across the Black Sea to Georgia, driven to neighbouring Azerbaijan, shipped across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenistan and then driven to the Afghan border.

The week-long journey along this “central route” would be longer and more expensive than those through Pakistan or Russia and would leave supplies vulnerable to political volatility in the Caucasus and Turkmenistan.

12-17-2008, 02:17 AM
.......shipped across the Black Sea to Georgia, driven to neighbouring Azerbaijan, shipped across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenistan and then driven to the Afghan border.

I want to book a seat on that package. That this is a serious option is a measure of how bad the situation is with the Paki route. It's difficult to consider what would make up a more interesting route - unless it went through the North Caucasus.......

12-18-2008, 11:14 PM
An interesting Australian article on the problems in Pakistani routes: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24820700-2703,00.html

Note attack on the Quetta route.


Harry Phillips
12-30-2008, 04:28 PM
Pakistan closes NATO supply route to fight militants

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) — Pakistan on Tuesday cut off supplies to NATO and US forces in Afghanistan via the Khyber Pass as security forces launched a major operation against militants there, officials said.

The offensive comes after a series of spectacular raids by suspected Taliban militants on foreign military supply depots in northwest Pakistan earlier this month in which hundreds of NATO and US-led coalition vehicles were destroyed.


12-30-2008, 08:16 PM
Story reports pass closed for local security action against bandits: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081230/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan and the BBC commentary: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7804389.stm


Harry Phillips
12-31-2008, 02:25 PM
From yesterday's New York Times.

U.S. to Widen Supply Routes in Afghan War
WASHINGTON — The United States and NATO are planning to open and expand supply lines through Central Asia to deliver fuel, food and other goods to a military mission in Afghanistan that is expected to grow by tens of thousands of troops in the months ahead, according to American and alliance diplomats and military officials.

01-01-2009, 07:54 PM
Not sure how much this will help since any goods coming from the US would have to transit through either Iran, Russia, or China to make use of this route. Even if we could make the arrangements to go through Russia the customs fees, transit taxes, or whatever we are calling them these days will cost a fortune. If World Wide or KBR purchase their foodstuffs from these countries we may be able to limit our need for the Pakistani route but I don't think we can eliminate it.

Bill Moore
01-01-2009, 08:13 PM
Even if the Pakistan route wasn't challenged, we should not create a vulnerable friendly center of gravity by only having one primary logistics route. I'm glad to see they're looking at and developing additional routes, but I doubt there is any plan to shut down current routes.

Maybe it has been written elsewhere, but it seems that the logistics effort to support a conflict in a land locked country like Afghanistan must be a tremendous effort not only at the logistics level, but at the diplomatic level. There are probably several unsong logistics heros that we need to recognize.

No one notices good logistical support, we only complain when the system isn't working.

Happy New Years to all you loggies out there.

01-21-2009, 08:20 PM
Over the past couple of weeks other sites have run news stories on interruptions to the Khyber Pass route and I've not posted them.

Here are a few:



01-21-2009, 09:49 PM
from the NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/21/world/asia/21pstan.html?_r=1&ref=world):

U.S. Secures New Supply Routes to Afghanistan
Published: January 20, 2009

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Faced with the risk that Taliban attacks could imperil the main supply route for NATO troops in Afghanistan, the United States military has obtained permission to move troop supplies through Russia and Central Asia, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in the Middle East, said on Tuesday.

About three-quarters of NATO supplies are normally shipped into Afghanistan from western Pakistan, most of them through the Khyber Pass, an ancient trade and military gateway that lies just west of the Pakistani frontier hub of Peshawar.
“It is very important as we increase the effort in Afghanistan that we have multiple routes that go into the country,” General Petraeus told reporters in Islamabad, where he had met with the head of the Pakistani Army as well as the country’s president and prime minister. The general had previously visited Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to discuss the issue.

“There have been agreements reached, and there are transit lines now and transit agreements for commercial goods and services in particular that include several countries in the Central Asian states and also Russia,” he said.

Russia is the principal source of fuel for the alliance’s needs in Afghanistan, and the Kremlin already allows the shipment of nonlethal supplies bound for Afghanistan to travel across Russian territory by ground.

01-22-2009, 07:20 PM
From Reuters; Afghanistan, India unveil strategic road (http://in.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idINISL34770520090122)

By Jonathon Burch

KABUL, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai and India's foreign minister opened a new road on Thursday that will help link Afghanistan with a port in Iran and challenge Pakistani dominance of trade routes into the landlocked country.

The 220-km (135-mile) road in the southwest Afghan province of Nimroz is the centrepiece of a $1.1 billion Indian reconstruction effort in Afghanistan. It has drawn sniping from Pakistan, worried about its rival's growing influence there.

India, denied access through Pakistan, hopes to be able to deliver goods to Afghanistan through the Iranian port of Chahbahar, and this has triggered fears in Pakistan it is being encircled.

01-23-2009, 01:38 AM
Russia not permit US, NATO military transit to Afghanistan
ITAR-TASS, 22 Jan 09
Article link (http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=13503817&PageNum=0) - .pdf permalink (http://milnewstbay.pbwiki.com/f/RUS-AFG-ITAR-TASS-222033JAN09.pdf)

Russia did not permit the United States and NATO to transit military supplies across the country to Afghanistan, Russian Military Representative to NATO General of the Army Alexei Maslov told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

“No official documents were submitted to Russia’s permanent mission in NATO certifying that Russia had authorized U.S. and NATO military supplies transit across the country,” he said in comments on some media reports about a statement which Commander of the U.S. Central Command General David Petraeus has recently made in Islamabad concerning alleged agreements with Russia and other countries bordering Russia on alternative transit routes for U.S. and NATO military supplies to Afghanistan.

Russia has concluded with NATO and two NATO states the agreements on transit of non-military supplies in Afghanistan.....

George L. Singleton
02-01-2009, 06:54 PM
As we are into 2009 your earlier post regarding use of the Port of Karachi causes me to offer some first hand experience observations.

I used to (1963-1965) run all movement of men, material, food stuffs, whatever, from Port of Karachi up to our former US Air Base at Peshawar (Badabar).

In those days there was one single rail line north, which went into Peshawar.

Back then supplies for the old US Embassy in Kabul was also part of my bailiwick. I shipped same via rail (you do use air on occasion but not for expendibles in a constant resupply pipeline that works as well and more cheaply via rail) stuff for Kabul to Peshawar.

At Peshawar supplies/foodstuffs headed to Kabul were off loaded onto hired local carrier trucks and taken via the Khyber Pass to Kabul.

I suspect the same routing as involves Port of Karachi to Afghanistan, primarily Kabul, is still used today, railroad from Karachi to Peshawar, thence by truck into Kabul.

However, with the completion of the Port of Gwatar near the border with Iran on the Arabian Sea, I would hope that at the least a railroad spur has been built up past the sprawling city of Karachi to join into the existing main/single rail line into Peshawar, and the shipment of supplies and food stuffs would proceed as just described from Karachi from Gwadar.

It would be revolutionary and great news IF the Chinese, who built and paid for the Port of Gwadar also have singly or jointly together with the Government of Pakistan built another railroad line north, but I doubt that was done, a mere educated guess on my part.

Airlifting of critical material, and of all personnel, is the name of the game in the past and likely today, as well.

With military personnel airlifted you do not even have to pass over or go through Pakistan at all, shipping personnel from Europe.

The new supply route(s), land, which Russia is newly providing and which I reasonably assume are at least in part already in use are/is good news and should help, as security via Russia will be much easier and better vs. through the troubles with terrorists inside Pakistan.

How is the weather in UK? My actualy English first cousin says you have had a real snow in late 2008 that slowed everyone down for a few days.


02-01-2009, 11:00 PM

Been awhile since I was in Pakistan and I do recall the railway network was hardly effiecent. IIRC I did not see a single moving train in my travels around Punjab and NWFP.

I would be very surprised if any new railway lines have been laid, Pakistan had invested in moving freight by trucks - an industry dominated by Afghan drivers. That the Chinese would have built a line, I'll ask around. There is some irony if they had built a new line useful for Western forces.

Finally, yes snow has been forecast and so far minus temperatures overnight, a little snow so far.


George L. Singleton
02-02-2009, 01:15 AM
Thanks for your resposne.

As I wrote, 46 to 44 years ago (1963-65) the single RR line north from Karachi was in heavy use and we used it every single week to move cargo north to Peshawar/US Air Base there.

Be interested if the Chinese have built a feeder or spur track line into existing RR; a totally new line to north; or nothing at all. I suspect a spur/connector RR line would make common sense, but only a guess.

In my antique day Lehland Motors in Pakistan was represented by Tim (Timothy) George, a tall redheaded, freckle faced Scottsman. We were good friends.

Have a good snow time,

02-03-2009, 04:32 PM
Pakistani militants cut off key NATO supply line to Afghanistan (http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0203/p99s01-duts.html)
The attack highlights the need for alternative routes.
By Liam Stack, CSM

Islamist militants in Pakistan blew up a bridge through the mountainous Khyber Pass early on Tuesday, severing a key supply route for US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. Periodic attacks on the route have pushed the international forces to seek alternative ones outside Pakistan.

All traffic on the bridge has come to a halt, The Press Trust of India reports, including dozens of supply trucks bound for US and NATO forces.

The bridge connects Peshawar, the largest city in the Northwest Frontier Province, with the Khyber Pass, the primary route into Afghanistan.

Militants have harassed NATO supply lines in northwest Pakistan for several months, conducting ambushes on convoys and attacking truck depots in Peshawar itself, according to the news service. It says Tuesday's bridge attack may be a result of increased security at supply depots.



George L. Singleton
02-03-2009, 05:53 PM
The Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2009 blowing up of a/the supply route bridge to and from Afghanistan from Peshawar via the Khyber Pass is another move by the terrorists which again causes or forces Pakistan's hand to "defend" it's alleged tribal belt terrories, which for some time now are for all practical purposes areas in revolt and clearly not under the writ of law nor protection of the forces of Pakistan.

Terrorists are annoying the Pakistani Frontier Corp (FC) and the regular Pakisani Army, along with local police, etc.

A big problem is the fact that both the Taliban and also are a large part of the Pak military presence in these tribal areas are all ethnic Pukhtuns, some are even close kin. There is a real danger of Pak military forces in this area revolting against Pakistan, which is why I believe Govt. of Pakistan keeps "negotiating" instead of fighting and securing and permanently manning for security all these widespread tribal areas.

It is up to the Government and military of Pakistan to man permanently posts all along this supply route to stop this nonsense.

Failure to do so means Russian routes are "cheaper" now as any route that works is cheaper than 100% air lift which is what the on again, off again, on again Pak supply route is these days.

George L. Singleton
02-04-2009, 02:29 PM

This article from yesteday's LONDON TELEGRAPH notes that already where a 100 foot iron bridge was blown yesterday that a diversion across a dried up stream bed is working to bypass the bridge, while the bridge is quickly being repaired.

Note there is another road route further south in Pakistan into Kandahar Provience in Afghanistan.

Negotiations are underway by some European NATO folks with Iran, very interesting.

And of course we/US have a plan being perfected now with Russia and the Stans to the north of Afghanistan.

The Taliban and al Qaida cannot stem the tide which by a year from now should find them "under water" or having capitulated (the Taliban).

Eventually, I envision a moderated Taliban turned loose to wipe out al Qaida. Interesting?

02-04-2009, 03:25 PM
I won't rehearse my own articles on this, but several things.

First, we are empowering Russia, and she is only a temporary "friend," soon to be erstwhile friend (in fact, in my estimation, she remains an enemy posing as a friend). Russia wants the U.S. to go through Russia and only Russia for supplies, with leverage, therefore, concerning what we do with Georgia and then the Ukraine concerning possible NATO entry among other things.

A better route (again, I have posted extensively on this) is through the Caspian region, bypassing Russia completely. Somewhat more problematic, but nevertheless able to be done.

It's good that supplies are moving again, but note this that I linked in my most recent on logistics:


For the Taliban to succeed is easy. Bombs in the middle of the night and there goes the next bridge. And the next one, and then 100 more trucks carrying supplies to us in Afghanistan after an attack on depots causing fire.

I wish I could share your idyllic view of a moderated Taliban, but there are absolutely no signs of such a thing happening, nor does there appear to be any reason on the horizon to make such a thing happen without forces and COIN (and then it is still dubious).

Nor, I would point out, does there necessarily have to be a reason for this. Why must we co-opt them if they are 25,000 fighters out of millions and the population really doesn't want them around? This is not the same thing as the indigenous Sunni fighters in Anbar who were supported by the population.

As for this "moderated Taliban," I'll bet you a six pack of Shiner Bock that it won't happen. Are we on?



Old Eagle
02-04-2009, 05:08 PM
It's the obvious choice.

Now you smart guys can work the details.

02-04-2009, 05:49 PM
Through Iran
I think our allies that are on more cordial terms with Iran may pursue this. I say this not to denigrate our allies, rather because it is the obvious choice and is not inconceivable. All countries involved would try to hide it the best they can.

02-04-2009, 09:01 PM
A long time ago I referred to some West European nations using a route via Iran, which was mentioned during the diplomacy over Iran's nuclear weapons programme and UN sanctions - alas reference not retained. The article indicated use of the Iranian route influenced the stance taken by some West European nations. I would suggest France, Germany and Italy are possible users of this route. IIRC there is a railway line to an Iranian city near Herat and this can link back to Turkey, or maybe Gulf ports?

Using other routes via Russia etc are fine in principle, but have immense problems and will investment be needed?

This aspect of the campaign in Afghanistan will continue to appear.


George L. Singleton
02-04-2009, 10:51 PM

The late Army Transportation Corp Lt. Colonel George Lowrey, USA, Ret., Deceased, of WW II era Lt. Colonelcy (his family owned heavy industry business in Birmingham, Alabama, he was only in the Army during WW II) an older but very good friend of mine...built the Iranian railroad still in use in Iran.

The Iranian RR was built in reaction to:

- Removal of the prior Shah, who was pro-Nazi [the ex-Shah had started a process to "let" German forces come into northern Iran and a RR was needed by the allies pdq to move troops and material as a blocking reaction;
- USSR movement of troops into northern parts of Iran against understanding with the Allies [this was attempted during and especially toward the end of WW II by USSR, to move into and "take" w/puppet government Soviets attempted to set up in N. Iran;
- To create a better transporation route for escaping Jews from Europe (this was a backdoor escape route from Nazi extermination of Jews)
- And to move supplies up into and for Russia to use against the Nazis.

In the 1960s when I was a young USAF Lieutenant out of US Embassy in Karachi, I made numerous flying visits to coordinate matters in Tehran...and the WW II era built railroad was still the backbone of the then entire (not then very vast, not sure size/status of Iranian RR system today) Iranian RR line(s) as of the mid-1960s.

Background info of course.

02-05-2009, 07:59 PM

It seems a squeeze from Russia is inevtible.
Appearantly the Kremlin has applied pressure against Kyrgyzstan for allowing us to base there. Kremlin states that US does not protect it's allies (Georgia) and Kyrgyzstan will remain Russias neighbor to the south. "The US will leave you be we are here to stay"

Russia prefers to be dealt with directly by the US in "Their sphere of Influence".

It goes without saying that shakey Logistics through Pakistan and the inability to airlift is a very uncomfortable position for our troops to be in.

Big work must be put into this right away. Logistics is the baseline which shall determine how Afghanistan works for us.

If you cannot supply the troops, they may not stay there.

02-05-2009, 09:07 PM
Yesterday's AP analysis is here (http://wire.antiwar.com/2009/02/04/analysis-kyrgyz-base-a-kremlin-test-for-obama/).

Analysis: Kyrgyz base a Kremlin test for Obama
Analysis: Kremlin testing Obama administration in dispute over key Central Asian base
AP News
Feb 04, 2009 12:34 EST

The Kremlin's message to President Barack Obama is clear: if the U.S. wants Central Asian help in its war against the Taliban, it must deal first with Russia.

A $2 billion aid pledge from Russia appears to be behind Kyrgyzstan's announcement that it will close a U.S. air base that has played a key role in American military operations in Afghanistan......

It seems we lost the auction. :(

Ron Humphrey
02-05-2009, 10:15 PM
Kyrgyz Republic looks to lose much more then they might gain from any such venture.

Just under 36% of GDP is agriculture, much of which they enable through trade with us. And just how much exactly do they expect to gain in growth from Russian purchasing power. Less people usually equals less need for food and other such amenities, not to mention if they continue along the path they currently seem to be on it's likely that Russia grows it's defense budget which would leave even less for external expenditures.

Trade: Exports (2007)--$1.34 billion: cotton, wool, meat, tobacco, gold, mercury, uranium, hydropower, machinery, shoes. Partners--Russia 20.7%, Switzerland 19.9%, Kazakhstan 18.0%, Afghanistan 10.4%. Imports--$2.64 billion: oil and gas, machinery and equipment, foodstuffs. Partners--Russia 40.5%, China 14.7%, Kazakhstan 12.9%, Uzbekistan 5% DOS

Seems like it would be a better bet counting on growth of trade with Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, India, and assorted other regionally located entities who just might be looking for trade opportunities over the next ten to 15 years.

I can just see it now. .........
(M) OK we'll forgive debt(which we never really expected to get paid anyway) and promise to build stuff and bring you into the fold, you just have to put a damper on those darn yanks expeditionary efforts. Or we could just shut of the spigit(which we're getting really good at lately:D ) and cut back on trade with you(which by the way we're gonna have to do anyway we just want you to think we're doin it because we want to, not have to)

And all this time all KR hears is HMMMMM blah blah blah you don't have to pay blah blah or it'll hurt.

What their thinking is wonder how much more I can get the US to pay for that $$$$$$$airfield$$$$$$

We live in one screwed up world:wry:

02-06-2009, 08:31 PM
Just saw this, looks like Pak military is helping out along supply routes:

Pakistani Forces Kill 52 Militants Near Vital Supply Route
Associated Press

ISLAMABAD — Government helicopter gunships killed 52 Islamist militants Friday in two attacks in northwestern Pakistan, a lawless region where Al Qaeda and Taliban militants increasingly hold sway, a government official said.
They destroyed five militant hide-outs, a large ammunition depot and eight vehicles, he said.

Militants have stepped up attacks in the Khyber region in recent months, seeking to disrupt a vital supply line for Western forces in neighboring Afghanistan.


02-08-2009, 11:14 PM
Late discovery, from the BBC on 6th Feb '09: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7873866.stm In summary: Kyrgyzstan says its decision to close a US base that serves as a vital supply route for US and Nato operations in Afghanistan is "final". Under the MOU the USA has six months to leave.

Nothing in ths region is either clear or simple.


George L. Singleton
02-09-2009, 12:27 AM
David's recent post that under the MOU we have six months to vacate is correct.

Some of the recurring missions in and out of Kyrgyzstan are being flown by the 908th USAF Reserve Wing out of Maxwell AFB, Alabama. One of those pilots spoke to our Military Officers Association of America chapter monthly dinner meeting not too long ago, talk included excellent slides.

Pakistan desperately needs the revenue from use of movement of supplies and material through that nation. I like the posting of 50-odd militants killed by Pak attack choppers. We must see more of that, but what the Pakistani military hasn't been able to effectively do is put enmass divisions in place and keep them there instead of playing psychological games about India and other phoney threats.


Ron Humphrey
02-09-2009, 01:07 AM
Pakistan desperately needs the revenue from use of movement of supplies and material through that nation. I like the posting of 50-odd militants killed by Pak attack choppers. We must see more of that, but what the Pakistani military hasn't been able to effectively do is put enmass divisions in place and keep them there instead of playing psychological games about India and other phoney threats.


While this is understandable and especially that last part, one would think that at some point PAK and Indian Governments need to develop at least some kind of mil/mil comms that would help cut down on the militants opportunities to capitalize on old resentments.

They don't have to like each other but at least if they are comfortable enough with the fact that their not gonna attack each other a lot of the problems might be nipped in the bud before they reach boiling point's.

As to the Kyrgyz does anyone know, if this happens do we have to keep providing the other aid we've been giving them. Seems like if they pick a side they should try living with it. ( This said of course completely Tongue in Cheek I personally have no idea as to the larger dynamic's there) but it does seem like a reasonable layman's question

George L. Singleton
02-09-2009, 01:55 AM
[QUOTE=Ron Humphrey;66187]While this is understandable and especially that last part, one would think that at some point PAK and Indian Governments need to develop at least some kind of mil/mil comms that would help cut down on the militants opportunities to capitalize on old resentments.

Ron, you are thinking logically about mil to mil between Pak and India. The ethnic, religious, and geopolitical hatreds there are deep at all levels, even flag ranks who have Western univeristy degrees, etc.

What is sheer insanity or stupidity or both to us is everyday routine hatred to them, always has been, and will be for a long time to come.

Both Pakistan and India still have many poor illiterate population who have to be kept focused on something or someone to hate to avoid thinking too much about their own lack of everything in their daily lives.

One vivid memory of Karach in my day was the dead and dying just lying by the thousands on sidewalks across that city of then 14 million, now I hear maybe 20 million population...people using those sidewalks just stepped over or walked around, no concern for the lower classes at all!

02-10-2009, 08:48 PM
Kazakhstan will now assist logistically: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090209/wl_afp/kazakhstanafghanistanusdiplomacydefence_2009020916 1206

Now I must get that atlas and check on where to invest my savings (not serious, just a late joke of mixed effect).


George L. Singleton
02-10-2009, 09:59 PM


This tells you this is yet another landlocked nation with unclean rivers and lakes/their portion of Caspian Sea; left over nuclear and chemical wastes not properly disposed of.


But, it is a piece of a logistics route puzzle.

Take a look at the map and related narrative.

02-13-2009, 02:19 PM
Alongside the US government report on unaccounted weapons is this Pakistani story on US military computers being sold in the local (NWFP / FATA) marketplace: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/pakistan/090211/exclusive-the-wrong-hands

Nothing surprising I suspect.


03-18-2009, 06:50 PM
I was aware that another overland route via Pakistan's Baluchistan Province existed and this links reports an attack on the border: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090318/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan;_ylt=AmkfQwUV4Ff16Q0c8aAQ90us0NUE;_ylu =X3oDMTI2NWtoamxpBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMDkwMzE4L2FzX3Bha 2lzdGFuBHBvcwMxMQRzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3J5BHNsawNwYWt pc3RhbmF0dGE

I think the author's geography is wrong, as Chaman is a long way from the Swat Valley and possibly Bajaur Valley; Wikipedia I note refers to a railway line to the border: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaman


04-03-2009, 04:11 PM
In the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/03/AR2009020300120.html

Reports a bridge 15 miles from Peshawar destroyed and so blocking supplies to US forces. Has some predictable comments on the local police and security situation.

Another story reports a transit depot raided overnight.


George L. Singleton
04-04-2009, 01:59 AM
Uzbekistan has now (this week) signed an agreement for a new northern supply routes.

This northern route is obviously needed if the new Afghan-Pakistan strategy is to work. Pakistan, as David notes in his posts early today, continues to have lousy roads, trucks, depots, and overall logistical line of supply security...guess most of those troops are roasting marsh mellows on the Indian border near Lahore!

NATO/the US are in negotiations currently with the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

Feel free to correct my memory/recall of this info if I am off the factual mark.

04-21-2009, 11:58 AM
Re-discovered this story, on 14th March 2009, in The Spectator (UK): http://www.spectator.co.uk/the-magazine/features/3430796/nato-has-serious-supply-problems-in-afghanistan.thtml

Contains some items familiar and others not so well known e.g. new bridge with Tajikistan.


George L. Singleton
04-21-2009, 04:28 PM
David, thanks for this logistics newsclip on this site. I have read it and written an on line rebuttal of some of the remarks by this inexperienced young reporter.

Spring in full swing here. Hope the weather is better now in UK.

George Singleton

11-13-2009, 06:03 PM
This issue seems to have fallen asleep, although there have been a few reports on the problems in Pakistan with moving supplies by truck and IIRC comments on the implications for any "surge" in relying on Karachi port and the overland routes.

The link is a report on an attack on fuel tankers in Afghanistan outside Jalalabad, which has "lessons learned" :

I note the convoy had an escort from a PSC Blue Compass:


11-14-2009, 01:26 AM
There's often talk about the drug trade and its financial relevance to the insurgents. I wonder why I did so rarely read & hear about truck protection money as Taliban income?

Is it such an unpleasant topic because this problem means that any surge (= more transports necessary) would yield more income for the Taliban groups close to the main roads? The same applies to the idea of building roads to improve logistics, economy and access, of course.

11-14-2009, 06:30 AM
Heard that through deals w/Russia and the Stans, 70% of our Afghanistan logistics now comes from the north rather than through Pakistan. That is a change that has occurred over the last 6-12 months.

For those thinking along those lines, I imagine that's what we got when we traded the missile defense in East Europe. Seems a good deal to me.

11-14-2009, 11:51 AM

Maybe some are saying, as you stated:
Heard that through deals w/Russia and the Stans, 70% of our Afghanistan logistics now comes from the north rather than through Pakistan. That is a change that has occurred over the last 6-12 months.....For those thinking along those lines, I imagine that's what we got when we traded the missile defense in East Europe. Seems a good deal to me.

Elsewhere and from SWJ daily roundup: Russian Deal on Afghan Supply Route Not a Deal Yet - Peter Baker, New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/14/world/europe/14flights.html?_r=1&hp.
When he met President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia in April, President Obama sought to open an important new supply corridor for Afghanistan by flying American troops and weapons through Russian airspace. Visiting Moscow in July, he sealed a deal for as many as 4,500 flights a year, in what he called a “substantial contribution” to the war and a sign of improving relations with Russia. Seven months after the idea was raised and four months after the agreement was signed, the number of American flights that have actually traversed Russian airspace? One. ....For eight years, the American military has struggled to find and maintain reliable supply routes into Afghanistan, but Mr. Obama may send more troops in a single order than at any point in the war, straining the system.

I don't doubt that people and some supplies can be flown into the 'stans', but enough heavier items and particularly fuel cannot. Now maybe we can buy fuel locally from the 'stans'?

I'd like to some references to the Northern route having such capacity (70% cited). Karachi remains IMHO the port and the roads northwards.

11-16-2009, 10:48 PM
A small item that suggests that the Russian route has yet to open: http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/2009-170-32.cfm

Airplanes en route to Afghanistan carrying U.S. cargo will start flying over Russian airspace in the near future, the ambassador said.

11-16-2009, 11:23 PM

Maybe some are saying, as you stated:

Elsewhere and from SWJ daily roundup: Russian Deal on Afghan Supply Route Not a Deal Yet - Peter Baker, New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/14/world/europe/14flights.html?_r=1&hp.

I don't doubt that people and some supplies can be flown into the 'stans', but enough heavier items and particularly fuel cannot. Now maybe we can buy fuel locally from the 'stans'?

I'd like to some references to the Northern route having such capacity (70% cited). Karachi remains IMHO the port and the roads northwards.

The key is that the Pakistan route was previously the preferred route. The switch - if it happens - is obviously a deterioration.
No matter whether the cost was political, fiscal, prestige, timeliness, security or whatever - the supplies would most likely have flown primarily through the Northern route if it wasn't the worse route initially.

We should re-learn the lesson that the logistical challenge isn't only about putting the needed amount of supplies through the logistics channels; it's also about keeping the logistical requirements low.
That's something at which Western forces did in my opinion fail badly post-'45.

Imagine the West would have been forced to fight the Vietnam War using the Ho Chi Minh trail instead of the ports. We would have a much smaller logistical footprint today.

11-17-2009, 01:42 PM
CSIS, 10 Nov 09: The MAGAI™ Construct and the Northern Distribution Network (http://csis.org/files/publication/091110_Benson_MAGAI_Web.pdf)

....The MAGAI™ Construct presents a unique way to capture the transcontinental, indeed global, dimensions of instability in Afghanistan and the surrounding region. The MAGAI combines two post–Cold War strategic realities:
A Modern Activity Gap (MAG) precariously positioned in Central Asia that acts as a barricade to the flow of deepening economic interdependencies that circumnavigate the northern hemisphere; and
The Arch of Instability (AI), a zone of unstable conditions from the Middle East to South Asia first identified by Zbigniew Brzezinski nearly 30 years ago. This post–Cold War instability has gained a firm foothold in the MAG where its risks are magnified by Islamic extremists seeking to overthrow weak regional governments as well as foment terrorist acts around the globe.

The MAG exists in stark contrast to the rapidly evolving economic conditions to its east and west. Rooted in the MAG, unstable conditions meet an inexorable demand to connect Europe with Asia across a new land bridge, the modern Silk Road (MSR). Along the MSR, transcontinental tensions among the world’s largest economies, competition for access to resources and routes, and a radical Muslim agenda merge.

In this environment, CENTCOM’s Northern Distribution Network pursues options for Afghanistan resupply by involving a wider group of linked partners along the MSR. To meet the demand signals from increased force levels engaged in higher levels of sustained combat, supporting transport infrastructure and processes need to be improved, security needs to be maintained, and sensitive political conditions must be considered. Addressing the immense challenges and the opportunities across the MAG is an imperative, and tools that help the experts to visualize, quantify, and analyze the MAGAI™ Construct are badly needed....

11-17-2009, 03:16 PM
This is an extremely good find, and I appreciate your bringing this to our attention. This is a more sophisticated version of my own arguments in:




Russia has keen interest in the Caucasus for more reasons than one (they have assets and basing rights in Armenia that are essentially cut off without access through Georgia). Further, the oil and natural gas supplies in this region are enormous.

Serious engagement of (and political and military ties with) the Caucasus would be a smart, forward-thinking, audacious way both to ensure logistics for a larger force in Afghanistan (thus avoiding the problems associated with Karachi and the Khyber pass or Chamen), and ensure that Russia is checked in its coming re-expansion into their near abroad.

That's why it won't happen. It's nice to think, though, about smart decisions that could be made.

11-17-2009, 07:50 PM

Thanks for this:
CSIS, 10 Nov 09: The MAGAI™ Construct and the Northern Distribution Network

Good strategic viewpoint and IMHO hopeless on what can be achieved now and soon.

I was puzzled at the maps, the Pakistani railways are little-used, in great contrast to India; and the Karokorum Highway was a great PR scheme for China, but use for trading in volumes? No. Overland transport rarely beats slow and steady sea transport.

Will the US DoD use Russian controlled and influenced land routes for anything but the most innocuous items? Methinks not.

The lack of logistic support is one reason why I have questioned a larger foriegn commitment in Afghanistan. Ironically a safer way is via Iran, an even more prickly political issue, but not a logistic issue!

12-19-2009, 06:12 PM
Fom SWJ daily news round-up:
The U.S. and NATO have already started using Georgian ports, rail lines and roads to transport nonlethal supplies to Afghanistan.


Steve the Planner
12-20-2009, 03:52 AM
No matter how you slice any of this, the route to the South, through Pakistan, is the most needed, most basic access route.

Back to Baluchistan.

Lately, Afghan promotion of concepts to exploit its natural resources (all along that corridor) are predicated on this route and system that doesn't exist.

Economic Geography 101.

12-22-2009, 12:44 PM
CSIS, 17 Dec 09: The Northern Distribution Network and the Modern Silk Road: Planning for Afghanistan’s Future (http://csis.org/files/publication/091217_Kuchins_NorthernDistNet_Web.pdf)

The authors of this report set out to assess the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), which the U.S. military is establishing as an additional and alternative channel for provisioning U.S. forces in Afghanistan. These new supply routes from the Baltic and Black Seas through Central Asia have provided an urgently needed supplement to the single route through Pakistan that had been used exclusively since 2001. It was also hoped that the NDN would be less subject to the armed attacks, unexpected delays, and pilferage that have hampered the movement of goods along that same Karachi-Peshawar road.

For some years, Afghanistan’s northern neighbors have argued that they are well positioned to assist in the development of Afghanistan and also to benefit from that development. Until now, they have had no means of acting on that claim. This report argues that the NDN offers the best vehicle to date for organizing such engagement by Afghanistan’s neighbors. The adjustments to the NDN proposed here will build connections based on the genuine mutual interests of Afghanistan and its neighbors, which will in turn ensure the longer-term security and viability of the northern
supply routes.....

12-22-2009, 03:07 PM
We should re-learn the lesson that the logistical challenge isn't only about putting the needed amount of supplies through the logistics channels; it's also about keeping the logistical requirements low.

I routinely make this argument. I wrote my last paper in college about the need for increased fuel efficiency and conservation, essentially arguing that about 80% of fuel consumption (and therefore about 40% of all logistics inputs by weight) is unecessary at current force levels, and that a reduction in logistical inputs could reduce personnel requirements, since logistics requirements compound over time in a "snowball."

This idea doesn't make me the most popular guy around...

12-22-2009, 09:11 PM
Seth B,

One would hope that the logistic planners have a contingency plan for the loss or restictions being placed on the various touted overland routes into Afghanistan. Even that thought is applied to reducing the amounts shipped would help.

12-22-2009, 09:35 PM
One would hope so.

I like to check up on the DoD Energy Blog (http://dodenergy.blogspot.com/) because it has a lot of information about how the military uses energy.

Since about half of everything that DoD moves by weight is fuel, I think this is relevant to this thread.

Bullets and beans make up a small portion of what is transported.

01-30-2010, 02:29 PM
The first time IIRC of NATO / US supply trucks attacked there:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/world/asia/29pstan.html?ref=world

01-30-2010, 05:27 PM
I've seen it in the news before - I remember catching a story a while back that saw insurgents cruising around in hijacked Humvees.

03-26-2010, 01:32 PM
Within a far wider article on Pakistan-US relations this snippet for here:
Convoys bringing supplies for the NATO mission in Afghanistan used to be preyed on frequently by terrorists and thieves; but as a result of the improved security, NATO is now losing only about 0.1 percent of the goods it ships across Pakistan.


04-05-2010, 12:04 PM
From the Daily Telegraph:
Suspected Taliban armed with petrol bombs and rockets attacked a terminal in the tribal district of Khyber before dawn on Monday, torching eight tankers used to supply fuel to Nato forces in Afghanistan, officials said....The tankers had recently returned from supplying Nato troops in Afghanistan...


A more political target:
At least three people have died after suspected militants attacked the US consulate in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar.


Steve the Planner
04-07-2010, 07:35 PM
Nightwatch reports today that the government has fallen to opposition, which now controls the Parliament, Presidential Palace, and TV/radio. Manas Airport is closed.

The President fled in his plane, but has not yet resigned.

The several straws through which resources are sipped into Afghanistan are more constricted today.

06-23-2010, 02:19 PM
Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, 22 Jun 10:

Warlord, Inc.: Extortion and Corruption Along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan (http://www.oversight.house.gov/images/stories/subcommittees/NS_Subcommittee/6.22.10_HNT_HEARING/Warlord_Inc_compress.pdf)

...The findings of this report range from sobering to shocking. In short, the Department of Defense designed a contract that put responsibility for the security of vital U.S. supplies on contractors and their unaccountable security providers. This arrangement has fueled a vast protection racket run by a shadowy network of warlords, strongmen, commanders, corrupt Afghan officials, and perhaps others. Not only does the system run afoul of the Department’s own rules and regulations mandated by Congress, it also appears to risk undermining the U.S. strategy for achieving its goals in Afghanistan.

To be sure, Afghanistan presents an extremely difficult environment for military operations, logistics, and business practices. Nevertheless, the evidence indicates that little attention was given to the cost-benefit analysis of allowing the system to continue in a fashion that injected a good portion of a $2.16 billion contract’s resources into a corruptive environment. The ‘fog of war’ still requires a direct line of sight on contractors.

This report is confined to the facts pertaining to the Host Nation Trucking contracts, and in that limited sphere there are constructive changes that can be made to the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan to improve contracting integrity while mitigating corrupting influences. This report offers some realistic recommendations to serve as a catalyst for what appears to be a much-needed reconsideration of policy.....

08-24-2010, 10:35 PM
An IISS Strategic Comment: 'Northern route eases supplies to US forces in Afghanistan', which reviews the route, plus map, graph and more.


08-26-2010, 01:44 AM
A somewhat recent issue of PBS's Frontline touches on how the Taliban and their allies are trying allocate more resources to the north to counter this shift in convoys.

Link: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/talibanlines/view/

Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi journeys deep into the insurgents' territory as they attempt to sabotage an important new American supply route and open up a dangerous new front in the north.

10-01-2010, 06:40 AM
The headline is 'Militants attack convoy of Nato tankers in Pakistan', which after recent allegations and history may come as no surprise, read on as there is a surprise.

Gunmen in Southern Pakistan have torched tankers carrying fuel destined for Nato troops in Afghanistan, one day after Pakistani authorities stopped supply convoys in protest at a cross-border air strike that killed three soldiers....which were parked in Shikarpur just before dawn....


Never having heard of this district I checked with Google etc; it is in Sindh Province and where two national highways crossover. Coordinates: 28.00°N 68.40°E and on the route to Quetta northwards:http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=28,68.4&spn=0.1,0.1&t=m&q=28,68.4(Shikarpur,%20Pakistan)

This is the furthest south I can recall such an attack.

10-12-2010, 07:12 PM
Behind the headlines that Pakistan has opened the Afghan crossing points to NATO truck movements an unusual mention of the option few talk about - using Iran.

A commentary on the opening and Pakistan's use of the valve:http://www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/daniel-c-giacopelli/critical-afpak-border-crossing-reopens-to-nato-convoys?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzEmail&utm_content=201210&utm_campaign=Nightly_2010-10-12%2005:30

The commentary that refers to using Iran:http://www.opendemocracy.net/neil-padukone/roads-to-afghan-stability

Two paragraphs:
Today the Afghan campaign is reliant on Pakistan’s transit routes, which are subject to repeated attack, and the US allegedly has “no alternatives” to dealing with the anti-ISAF forces in Pakistan on their own terms. A transport link through Iran would reduce this western vulnerability, giving ISAF a freer hand to hold Pakistan accountable, while easing Islamabad’s own security burden and forcing the Pakistani military to take serious action.

Greater coordination with Tehran would also help bring the western Afghan warlords in Iran’s sphere of influence into the political process, counter Sunni extremists like the Taliban, manage Afghan opium cultivation (of which Iran is the greatest victim), and open up a secure trade and transport route to Central Asia – not to mention stabilize Iraq and the Gulf. Though Washington sees Iran through the lens of Israel, Tehran may be a lynchpin to a stable Afghanistan, a prospect that’s otherwise looking bleak.

Many links within the article - which I have not followed.

I suspect that some European NATO members already use the Iranian route, which IIRC has a rail link to the city near Herat.

10-12-2010, 07:42 PM

I appreciate your following this issue. Like me, you have been interested in it for a while.

But the commentary is flawed. Of course we have alternatives. Easy? No. It would require work. Cheap? No. It would require financing. Serenely safe? Probably not. It would require some amount of guarding. But of course, these issues aren't so troublesome now that they can be compared to the same thing through Pakistan.

Bold? Sure. It would be right in the Russian's back yard. And maybe this would be one advantage of it, along with saving Georgia from the next Russian invasion (to get to their bases in Armenia).


If only we had started this process 18 months ago like I recommended, and if only they had listened to me 2.5 years ago when I told them exactly what the enemy strategy would be (attacking international and local lines of logistics).


I don't mean to preen, but it's all out in front of them. All of the warnings were issued. It's too late for them to complain about it now. It could have been different but they chose the current course.

10-12-2010, 08:04 PM

What I do not understand is how politicians, diplomats and many others got to this position before a single lorry moved. I vividly recall commenting an open meeting in Whitehall 'We cannot wage any campaign in Afghanistan without Pakistani logistic support' and the looks of surprise that the issue was raised were amazing.

Straying away from the logistic theme for a moment. In strategic terms how have we ended up with such a large, heavy commitment in Afghanistan, pursuing aims that history and culture strongly indicate will not work?

Add logistic vulnerability and you just gasp. Akin to Nelson at Copenhagen, not watching the signals.

10-17-2010, 12:00 AM
"Evolution of Petroleum Support in the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility (http://www.almc.army.mil/alog/petrol_support.html)" Army Sustainment (http://www.almc.army.mil/alog/petrol_support.html) Sept/Oct 2010

I didn't check for it, maybe someone else already mentioned this article.

10-17-2010, 10:03 AM

Some of the information has appeared before, but the article has a lot more detail and IIRC the first time the date when a switch to the north was agreed upon. So thank you.

10-27-2010, 08:00 AM
THe following sentence struck me as odd, even allowing for the "spin" before a NATO summit where Russia is attending:
Moscow will allow Nato forces to withdraw equipment from Afghanistan overland for the first time, in proposals expected to be agreed in Lisbon.


10-31-2010, 09:21 PM
A small snippet:
Zaranj is a desert border town of around 100,000 people just across the border from Milak Iran. The Indian Government’s Border Roads Organization just completed a modern hard top road from Zaranj to the ring road and the city of Delaram. That means there is now a modern hard ball road direct from the deep water port of Chabahar, Iran to the ring road of Afghanistan and beyond. That route could prove significant to somebody at some point in the future. For now it is hard to capitalize on having a modern route to a large seaport given that the run from Nimroz to Kabul is 500 kilometer ambush alley for truckers.



This road has been open since January 2009, apart from the Indians who else uses it?

10-01-2011, 10:58 AM
A short article on the relationships and a few snippets:
..more than a third of supplies to Nato forces in Afghanistan pass through Pakistan...the Northern Distribution Network...has already become more important in the past year as the US began switching supplies from Pakistan's roads.


12-01-2011, 01:26 PM
An article in The Economist on the Pak-US relationship crisis (covered on another thread) contains this section, which I assume is based on briefings:
In the past few months NATO—and especially the Americans—have done an impressive job of reducing their reliance on land transport corridors through Pakistan to supply Western soldiers in Afghanistan. Over the past 120 days, for example, of the materiel received by the Americans in Afghanistan, around 30% was flown in and 40% was driven over Afghanistan’s northern borders from Central Asia, leaving just 30% to come via Pakistan's roads. That is a sharp reduction on previous years. Thus the immediate and predictable closing of the Pakistan route, in response to the deaths on the border, should prove less disruptive than it once would have been.


12-01-2011, 09:57 PM
Dropping the Pakistani share of supply transit is a good and desirable thing, but the Northern Distribution Network is also vulnerable and keeps the US dependent on the good will of countries nobody would want to rely on... Islam Karimov is about the last guy on the face of the planet I'd want to see us cozy up to.

I suppose alternate networks could be developed through Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, but there are issues there as well. Ultimately the solution is to reduce the scale of the Afghan operation and to put it on a bit of a diet... like others here, I wonder sometimes if the teeth-to-tail ratio couldn't bias a bit more toward teeth and if the same results couldn't be achieved in a less supply-intensive environment. Is it really necessary to provide an American lifestyle for gigantic bases full of people who rarely if ever leave the wire... or are the accounts suggesting that this is the case exaggerated?

12-01-2011, 10:03 PM
All these percentages don't tell me much.

The quantity of troops increased, so a drop from "80%" to "30%" is probably no major absolute drop at all?

12-07-2011, 03:10 PM
Almost my "pet" subject the logistical aspect of campaigning in Afghanistan.

First check the map to orientate:http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-zRMgPKI_AEs/TtegnKQXR2I/AAAAAAAACKg/AbI5SM_cWOM/s1600/NDN_Afghanistan.jpg

Which accompanies this FP Blog commentary looking at the northern route (NDN) and the Byzantine local politics:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/12/06/afghanistan_resupply_nato_ndn?page=0,0

With a fascinating tale of the railway bridge that was blown up and a close-in map here:http://www.fergananews.com/news.php?id=17660&mode=snews

I had not realised that Turkmenistan is neutral in Afghan matters and so not part to the NDN. A curious stance for a neighbour to take, so I might have a peek as to why, unless readers know.

12-08-2011, 05:45 AM
Even the US with all its money cannot sustain the Afghan campaign for long.

Osama is dead, declare victory and leave!

12-22-2011, 03:09 AM
Afghanistan has opened its first ever major railway route, paving the way for an alternative supply route for Nato troops after the crippling breakdown of relations with Pakistan.


01-10-2012, 11:43 PM
Here is a link to a Bloomberg article about the Karachi supply line. Not only is it open or shut at the whim of the killers in the Pak Army/ISI, when it is open the amount of theft is mind numbing. Possibly tens of thousands of containers have gone walkabout.


Is there any earthly good the Pak Army/ISI is doing us? (The foregoing is a rhetorical question.)

01-11-2012, 12:53 AM
Is there any earthly good the Pak Army/ISI is doing us? (The foregoing is a rhetorical question.)
If nothing else, the decade in AfPak will surely be the last time the United States Government convinces itself that a self-interested and morally compromised cabal will develop a respect for TJATAW if they receive talking–tos about the importance of transparency in governance and respect for human rights every time the blank check is handed over. :rolleyes:

01-11-2012, 03:03 AM
Ganulv: You underestimate the invincible regard the US Gov has for itself and its actions. It will be interesting though, in the art of rhetoric sense, to see how they go about justifying everything they've done as not only having been brilliant and effective, but as a model for the future.

02-28-2012, 09:58 AM
Opens with:
Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, signed a new defence co-operation agreement with Kazakhstan which the British Government hopes will enable an estimated £4 billion of equipment – including tanks and armoured personnel carriers – to be shipped out of northern Afghanistan.

Later this sentence struck me as, well, odd:
The Taliban have made clear that their guidance to Taliban fighters is not to attack Nato convoys passing through the north


Not to overlook that the Pakistani routes remain closed since November, which must surely be a record for the usual "stop & go" practice.

03-16-2012, 11:25 AM
Undoubtedly Sec. of Defence Leon Panetta's visit to the region led to these two NYT stories, but I do wonder if someone is adroitly coordinating the diplomatic process.

One of Kyrgyzstan’s top defense officials told Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta on Tuesday that a crucial United States air base (Manas) here should have “no military mission” when its lease expires a little more than two years from now. The request creates a potential hurdle to American plans to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014.


The Kremlin expressed willingness on Wednesday to allow NATO to use an airfield (Ulyanovsk) in the heart of European Russia, in a city best known as Lenin’s birthplace, as a transit center for moving troops and “nonlethal” cargo into Afghanistan.

Some comments by the Russian minister on why the West should remain in Afghanistan too.


04-07-2012, 05:21 PM
China goes beyond Pak, will build rail line to Iran

This weekend, Beijing will unveil plans to build a new rail corridor that will eventually link China to the Mediterranean Sea through Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.

Liu Zhijun, China’s railway minister, is landing in Iran on Sunday to clinch an agreement on one important segment of this new Silk Road between the Far East and the Mediterranean, according to news reports from Beijing and Tehran.

Liu is expected to sign an agreement with Iranian transport minister, Hamid Behbahani, on building a rail line between Tehran and Khosravi on the border with Iraq.

China goes beyond Pak, will build rail line to Iran - Indian Express

Note: Very noble intentions of the Chinese.

But they will build where it helps her to further her hegemonic aims.

The remainder is to throw the world off the scent!

04-16-2012, 08:25 AM
India initiates rail route plan through Central Asia

India has taken the lead in what it calls “kickstarting” an “international north-south corridor” from Iran to Russia via Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to ensure a seamless connectivity to Central Asia. New Delhi wants this corridor to be operational by 2013.

Government sources said here on Wednesday that New Delhi met interlocutors from these partner countries in January to initiate the process. The plan, kept under the wraps so far, is in keeping with the the country’s “Look Central Asia policy”.

In this context, experts have identified the “missing links” in rail connectivity. “There is road connectivity, but what we want is a seamless rail connectivity. This will ensure a faster, a more hassle-free and less expensive way to transport goods through Iran to the Central Asian countries and further north to Russia,” a government source said.

The Chahbahar port, that India built in Iran, will become a hub.

It will permit moving of goods to countries North of Afghanistan and who knows how that gets funnelled into Afghanistan for the ISAF. It is obviously to Iran's advantage that the Pakistan (Sunni) based Taliban does not get an upper hand at the expense of the minority Shias in Afghanistan!

Conjecture, but then there are many oddities that occur in foreign policy.

In this context this is report is of interest:

India Set To Be Bigger Player In Afghanistan NATO Transport?

The U.S. military might rely on India as a way of getting equipment in and out of Afghanistan if Pakistan doesn't cooperate, a senior military official has said. The official, Marine Lt. Gen. Frank Panter, deputy commandant for installations and logistics, testified at a Congressional hearing on Thursday and was asked about the U.S.'s plans if Pakistan doesn't soon start to allow U.S. and NATO supplies to again transit that country. He said India would be part of the solution, according to a report from the Press Trust of India.

04-16-2012, 02:01 PM

It seems to me that this doesn't have much to do with keeping NATO efforts supplied. It has more to do with keeping Indian efforts in Afghanistan (with or without troops) supplied once NATO bugs out.

04-16-2012, 05:07 PM
I don't suspect the slightest military intent in this. India is looking for economic vacant growth paths.

04-16-2012, 05:41 PM
I don't suspect the slightest military intent in this. India is looking for economic vacant growth paths.

That too!

04-16-2012, 06:37 PM
Where are the Iranian and 'Stans railway enthusiasts when you need them? I fear there are none here on SWC.

On a quick check on Wikipedia there is no existing railway line to the port of Chabahar and it is very mixed "fog" about existing links to the 'Stans. Not to overlook the different gauges in use. Lots of 'plans' and statements by all parties.

04-16-2012, 07:40 PM
India Set To Be Bigger Player In Afghanistan NATO Transport?

The U.S. military might rely on India as a way of getting equipment in and out of Afghanistan if Pakistan doesn't cooperate, a senior military official has said. The official, Marine Lt. Gen. Frank Panter, deputy commandant for installations and logistics, testified at a Congressional hearing on Thursday and was asked about the U.S.'s plans if Pakistan doesn't soon start to allow U.S. and NATO supplies to again transit that country. He said India would be part of the solution, according to a report from the Press Trust of India.

How does India get equipment in and out of Afghanistan (for ISAF) if Pakistan doesn't cooperate?

Or be part of the solution when there is no land mass continuity?

What did the US Marine Lt Gen have in mind when he testified to the Congress?


ISAF's new plan for Afghanistan

If Pakistan closes the transit route, how are they to be sustained?

04-16-2012, 08:02 PM
Where are the Iranian and 'Stans railway enthusiasts when you need them? I fear there are none here on SWC.

On a quick check on Wikipedia there is no existing railway line to the port of Chabahar and it is very mixed "fog" about existing links to the 'Stans. Not to overlook the different gauges in use. Lots of 'plans' and statements by all parties.

There have been trains with variable gauge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variable_gauge) for many decades, this should not be a major issue - especially if you remember the great importance of ISO containers nowadays (easy transfer from train to train).

04-16-2012, 09:01 PM
So if we discount the 'rail route plan' it means road transport on highways that will not crumble under the weight of container trucks until way beyond 2013.

If ISAF's planners are looking at using this route as an option - well - that is interesting and I'd not bet on it being practical for awhile.

04-16-2012, 09:03 PM
Iran transit for ISAF supply hasn't been an option.
I wonder why.

Would come pretty handy.
I guess someone has left too much ill will at their doorsteps...

04-21-2012, 06:03 PM
Russia slams NATO’s Afghanistan exit plan

Moscow views NATO’s military effort in Afghanistan as crucial for its own security, including helping to prevent instability from spreading into ex-Soviet Central Asia.

Russia has provided NATO with air corridors and railway routes for carrying supplies to and from landlocked Afghanistan. The link has become particularly important since Pakistan blocked NATO supplies from crossing its territory following an alliance airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani border troops in November.

On Thursday, Lavrov and NATO ministers discussed a plan to give the alliance a new logistics facility on Russian territory to transfer military cargo to and from Afghanistan.

The proposal now being considered by Russian lawmakers would for the first time allow alliance members to set up a logistics facility in Ulyanovsk, Russia, for troops and cargo.


Finally some sense is dawning on the Russian mind?

04-21-2012, 09:05 PM

Certainly not my conclusion:
Finally some sense is dawning on the Russian mind?

The Russians have for sometime now been critical of the approach taken in Afghanistan and a couple of years ago they expected the USA / West would stay.

The cited report Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as saying:
As long as Afghanistan is not able to ensure by itself the security in the country, the artificial timelines of withdrawal are not correct and they should not be set.

Given the stance taken by Pakistan on allowing ISAF logistic access, for an unprecedented six months now, the Russians and other 'Stans have much to gain in hiring their facilities.

If we look forward to a post-ISAF / US exit Afghanistan how much instability will migrate across the border? Little I say and the neighbours are quite adept at playing 'The Great Game'. Note one neighbour, Turkmenistan is already studiously neutral, allowing no logistic access and refrains from involvement.

05-06-2012, 07:18 PM
Iran Opens Chabahar Port For NATO Supply zaranj-delaram – PKKH.tv

The endorsement of the pact means Afghan traders including those directly working with American contracting companies will be able to use the southeastern port – Iran’s only port with direct access to the sea – for importing and exporting goods. The news of signing of this agreement comes as relief to US/NATO official since the closure of NATO supplies from Pakistan has caused massive setback in terms of finance to US/NATO.


05-06-2012, 11:32 PM
If that port and route through Afghanistan fully develops I believe that means a route to the sea for all the 'Stans that doesn't go thru Karachi. I wonder if the General Sahibs saw that one coming.

05-06-2012, 11:40 PM
Carl, they were hoping that Saudis and Israel will prevent this from going too far. But maybe they miscalculated?

05-07-2012, 06:03 AM
India has built the Chahbahar port in Iran and has linked it to the road made by India in Western Afghanistan (zaranj-delaram ).

There are reports in the Pakistani media that Iran is opening up the Indian made port Chahbahar for NATO supplies. http://www.pakistankakhudahafiz.com/2012/05/06/iran-opens-chabahar-port-for-nato-supply/zaranj-delaram/

It is a bit surprising that Iran will allow transit of NATO supplies to Iran, but if read in context with the link below, it makes some sense.

India Set To Be Bigger Player In Afghanistan NATO Transport?
The U.S. military might rely on India as a way of getting equipment in and out of Afghanistan if Pakistan doesn't cooperate, a senior military official has said. The official, Marine Lt. Gen. Frank Panter, deputy commandant for installations and logistics, testified at a Congressional hearing on Thursday and was asked about the U.S.'s plans if Pakistan doesn't soon start to allow U.S. and NATO supplies to again transit that country

And India is to build a rail link between Iran and Afghanistan.

Therefore, there are too many fingers in the pie to really be able to know how too many cooks can spoil the broth!:D

05-15-2012, 09:35 PM
I've adapted the title from the last sentence in Ray's last post here:
Therefore, there are too many fingers in the pie to really be able to know how too many cooks can spoil the broth!

Hat tip to omerali50 for identifying a change is underway, when referring to a LA Times report, I've underlined the keyword:http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/05/nato-invites-pakistani-leader-to-coming-summit.html

NATO on Tuesday announced that Pakistan would be invited to the alliance’s Chicago summit on the future of Afghanistan this weekend, following signs from Pakistani authorities that they would end their nearly six-month blockade on Afghanistan-bound NATO supply routes through their country. President Asif Ali Zardari’s spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, said NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh-Rasmussen phoned the Pakistani leader Tuesday to extend the invitation.

Earlier this week, the alliance had suggested that Pakistan’s participation in the May 20-21 gathering would not be possible if the supply routes remained closed. However, Babar insisted that the invitation was unconditional and not linked to the reopening of the supply routes.

It will be interesting if President Zadari is brave enough to announce the supply routes are open in Chicago, Obama's home-town. Personally I have m' doubts. Surely Obama can offer more than broth?

05-16-2012, 01:01 AM
I think its a mistake to pour on the broth to reward the reopening of the supply business. Unless something else has changed, that just takes us back to where we were....why would that constitute some sort of success?

05-16-2012, 01:18 AM
It will be interesting if President Zadari is brave enough to announce the supply routes are open in Chicago, Obama's home-town. Personally I have m' doubts. Surely Obama can offer more than broth?
You may not approve of Mr. Obama's methods (http://youtu.be/gAM2Q7Sqlbk?t=1m53s)! (If only… :rolleyes:)

05-16-2012, 02:29 PM
why would that constitute some sort of success?

We're dealing with DC here Omar. The sky is a different color in their world.

05-16-2012, 09:14 PM
A BBC News report which opens with:
The Pakistani cabinet has ordered officials to finalise a deal as quickly as possible to bring an end to a six-month blockade on overland Nato supplies into Afghanistan. But it has stopped short of announcing when the transit lines will reopen.

How about this, sorry it is a scam IMO:
Pakistani MPs also support the idea of Nato paying Islamabad a levy to use the routes, in addition to paying the lorry drivers' salaries....Pakistan's civilian government has to draw up a budget in a couple of weeks' time and desperately needs US cash which is currently being held up because of the tensions


I am sure the US Congress will be grateful to pay more to Pakistan.

05-17-2012, 04:20 PM
More speculation and selective briefing on the talks on renewed use of Pakistani territory, for overland transport and a reported US$5k per container - for 'wear & tear" on the roads etc:http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/pakistan-seeks-5000-transit-fee-for-each-nato-container/2012/05/16/gIQAU8gkUU_story.html

I noted this paragraph, with my emphasis:
U.S. officials noted that the parliamentary recommendations being debated referred only to nonlethal supplies traveling into Afghanistan but proposed no such restriction on outgoing goods.

There's also a nice map of the NDN, Pakistani and other links:http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/national-security/a-logistics-miracle/2011/07/02/AGZDwnvH_graphic.html

05-18-2012, 09:45 PM
Someone seems to think its not a done deal:http://www.firstpost.com/world/hopes-fading-for-swift-u-s-pakistan-deal-on-afghan-supply-routes-314449.html#.T7a6oCmy8og.I

The likelihood is that this is misinfomation, psyops (as in preparing public opinion in Pakistan) or just slight delay while the last haggling takes place. But one can still hope. Maybe NATO is playing hardball, or at least trying to save some money?

06-05-2012, 01:12 AM
A theory about why supplies are still stuck.

What do you think?

06-05-2012, 03:10 AM

You put point three in there for comic relief right? Other than that it sounds quite good to me, especially the money part.

06-05-2012, 09:48 AM
Well it seems that ISAF has made a decision, from the BBC:
Nato has signed deals with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to use their territory for evacuating vehicles and military equipment from Afghanistan. The agreement will allow the military alliance to bypass Pakistan, which has blocked Nato from using its territory in a disagreement over drone strikes. Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen... "These agreements will give us a range of new options and the robust and flexible transport network we need."


I imagine Russia is chuckling at the prospect of a significant profit on moving items by train to the Baltic ports. One wonders how much each state will charge for a container and if GPS is fitted to those cargoes that have a propensity to go AWOL.

06-05-2012, 02:15 PM
Carl, Point 3 was meant as "some people say...". Some people do say that. I find it hard to believe because I dont think US policy is ever that clever. Personally, I tend to assume that what you see is what you get, with the caveat that there must be many small conspiracies and overclever schemes below the surface, but they probably cancel each other out. Something like that.

David, the price gouging in the North is going to be insane, which is why Pakistan still has hope for its 5000 dollar demand. But just "a case", not a done deal. They may haggle themselves out of it...

06-05-2012, 02:25 PM
I have a vague recollection after Op Desert Storm non-lethal supplies were buried, notably medical equipment. Once the logistical and financial calculations are made I expect the Afghans will be digging for years to come.

06-05-2012, 09:19 PM
Does anyone remember a Len Deighton short story set in Vietnam, lots of supplies left over from the war? I think it was in "declarations of war"...

06-05-2012, 10:47 PM
However many containers are lost coming out on the northern route, it would have to go a long way to equal the loss on the southern. There was a Bloomberg article last year that estimated something like 29,000 containers went missing in Pakistan.


06-12-2012, 09:50 AM
A comprehensive examination of supplying war, which starts with the strategic setting - a point we rarely mention - and then turns to examining the complexities around supplying the war in Afghanistan.


In footnote (xx) I noted this:
‘Sensitive’ supplies remain the preserve of military convoys, so that even this degree of outsourcing has required the Army to dedicate over 30 per cent of its enlisted force in Afghanistan in 2011 to logistics operations.

07-03-2012, 08:10 PM
“The meeting of Pakistan’s defence committee (DCC) of the cabinet has decided to reopen the Nato supplies,” ....The official announcement came after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said ...the United States was “sorry” for losses suffered by the Pakistani military in November.

....no lethal cargo will go into Afghanistan except equipment ANSF, essential for ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan.... Pakistan will continue not to charge any transit fee


There is a little more on:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-18691691

A noteworthy development. It will be interesting to see how the non-lethal condition works out and whether more leaves than goes in soon.

07-04-2012, 03:17 AM
lets have an informal office pool. What date will the supply lines be shut again (for any reason)? Give one concrete date. Whoever is closest, wins the office pool.
My guess: 23rd August.

07-05-2012, 04:53 AM
Why its likely back to square one: http://www.brownpundits.com/?p=7342

07-05-2012, 05:06 AM
lets have an informal office pool. What date will the supply lines be shut again (for any reason)? Give one concrete date. Whoever is closest, wins the office pool.
My guess: 23rd August.

Oct 11, one month before the election.

Ken White
07-05-2012, 02:02 PM
Oct 11, one month before the election....You finally acknowledge the part US domestic politics play in our 'military' operations... ;)

There may be hope for you after all... :D

07-05-2012, 02:23 PM
Oct 11, one month before the election.

Now you actually seem to have thought about this. I literally let God decide (or pulled it out of my Ass, if you prefer the saltier version). I said the first date that came into my head. Lets see if my unconscious (or God) does better than your rational calculation.

07-05-2012, 06:34 PM
Professor Fair agrees with me. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/c-christine-fair/us-pakistan-supply-routes_b_1649843.html?utm_source=Alert-blogger&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Email%2BNotifications

OK, I agree with her.

07-05-2012, 07:23 PM
I ask this question of all. Ms. Fair I always thought was a mainstream inside the beltwayer. What she said reflected the elite conventional wisdom. In the article Omar referenced, she seems to actually advocate getting tough, genuinely tough with the Pak Army/ISI and in so many words recognizing that they are the enemy. Am I reading this right? It seems as if the genii inside the beltway have actually noticed the sun in the sky. Could that actually be the case?

07-20-2012, 08:01 AM
Good review:


Stuck in the Mud
The Logistics of Getting Out of Afghanistan

It took seven months of tough bargaining with Islamabad for the United States to get Pakistan to reopen its border with Afghanistan to NATO supply trucks. Until the border closed last year, about 5,000 trucks a month had plowed their way from the Pakistani port city of Karachi, through dusty Baluchistan, around the Taliban-infested switchbacks of the Khyber Pass, and on to Bagram, Kandahar, and other NATO logistical hubs in Afghanistan. That came to a halt in November, after a U.S. air raid mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and Islamabad retaliated by suspending NATO traffic. It would reopen the border, it said, only if the United States both apologized and agreed to pay much higher transport fees for the NATO trucks traversing its territory. Islamabad eventually dropped the fee demand, but it did induce U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to say sorry.

After the November shutdown of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, NATO reoriented its supply routes to northern Afghanistan through a series of roads in Central Asia, which make up what is known as the Northern Distribution Network (NDN). The seven-month total dependence on the northern transportation routes, which are circuitous and treacherous, cost the United States hundreds of millions of dollars and much heartache. Far from being a thing of the past, the troubles associated with the NDN are here to stay: even after the reopening of the border with Pakistan, use of the NDN will remain crucial as NATO starts to ship home equipment as part of the drawdown this summer.

By the end of 2014, NATO needs to remove about 100,000 shipping containers full of equipment and 50,000 wheeled vehicles from Afghanistan; it will leave behind any unused fuel. NATO officials point out that in order for all International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) military equipment to be removed from Afghanistan in time, a container would have to leave the country every seven minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, starting now -- a tough order...

07-27-2012, 11:49 PM
An update on the northern route (NDN), with a helping hand by the Chinese:http://www.jamestown.org/programs/edm/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=39684&cHash=507b6605492aaac58d5934a8192a51b9

12-27-2012, 11:11 AM
Although the cited WaPo article is on planning the exit of materiel from Afghanistan, so fits another thread better, it does have some snippets of note:
...the Defense Department estimates that the military services have more than 750,000 major items worth more than $36 billion in Afghanistan, including about 50,000 vehicles and more than 90,000 shipping containers of materiel, according to the GAO report.

In fiscal 2011, the U.S. Transportation Command shipped 268,000 tons of supplies — more than 42,000 containers — into Afghanistan via its northern surface routes, which involve truck and rail routing through European and Central Asian countries.

Under early plans, the U.S. Transportation Command projected that “14.2 percent of all returning equipment will be transported via the [northern route], 19.9 percent via the [Pakistan route] and 65.8 percent via [the air, sea transport method].”


02-15-2013, 12:30 PM
A NYT report, with little new except this
American officials hope that up to 60 percent of the hardware in Afghanistan can be sent out by way of Pakistan.

This is the first time I've seen out of region ports being mentioned IIRC:
Transportation Command officials said major transit hubs, in addition to Karachi, would include ports in the United Arab Emirates, Romania and Spain.