Tankers Blow Up In Pakistan, US Supply Lines To Afghanistan Unstable
- Tankers Blown Up As Pakistan Blocks Khyber Pass
October 1st, 2010
This is a point I have made before. The USA is dependent upon Pakistan to supply the troops in Afghanistan. Otherwise they have to use all air links via Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan where there has been political instability of late or the costly overland rail route through Uzbekistan. There is the option of using Iran, but then that would require coming to some kind of agreement with the Iranian regime. Turkmenistan supposedly is neutral in regards to US bases but there is evidence that the US is using air bases and shipping supplies through that country.
The USA is engaged in supplying its military in Afghanistan by deals made with regimes in the region that are all somewhat unstable and potentially unfriendly. The USA is exposed in Afghanistan and may have to invade Pakistan or Iran simply to keep its supply lines open. This is a totally absurd situation to be in and goes further to show the USA simply does not belong there with a military presence.
Meantime the Chinese are making economic deals all over central Asia and are rapidly bringing the entire region into its orbit.
Some 30 percent of supplies come through rail lines in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. See articles below.
The majority of the balance of supplies come through Pakistan. With a small amount being airlifted in. It would be impractical for the USA to try to airlift all the supplies required. It would be impractical for the USA to occupy the central Asian nations mostly because of Russian and Chinese opposition. Pakistan and Iran are on the fringe and could more easily be threatened although China with a border on Pakistan is not likely to support a US invasion. Iran on the other hand is relatively isolated. It had better hope the Chinese and Russians will protect it from US domination. It seems that in the geopolitical game the US wants to keep that part of the world safely in hand, for the sake of the oil. Taliban be damned.
This is from a blog called Informed Comment
27 US Fuel Trucks Torched as Pakistan Blocks US Supplies at Khyber Pass for 2nd Day
Posted on October 1, 2010 by Juan Cole
Khabrain reports in Urdu that NATO helicopter gunships made incursions 5 km. into Pakistani territory from Afghanistan in the Kurram tribal agency and fired on a Pakistani checkpoint, killing 3 Pakistani Frontier Corps personnel and wounding 4 others. The incident produced a strong reaction from politicians, retired officers, and fundamentalist parties. Pakistani authorities say that the checkpoint guards tried to alert the US helicopters that they had strayed into Pakistani territory by firing in the air, but the US pilots mistook this action for a hostile attack and blew away the checkpoint.
Some 27 NATO fuel tankers parked near Shikarpur in northern Sindh near Sukkur, and sidelined because of the Pakistani blockade of such vehicles, were attacked with rocket-propelled grenades by insurgents early on Friday, turning them into a massive bonfire. They were presumably stuck in the south of the country because of the blockade of the Khyber Pass in the north.
This as, Friday morning, it was confirmed that Pakistani authorities were declining for a second day to allow NATO supply trucks to enter Afghanistan from Pakistani territory through the Khyber Pass, though other routes did appear still to be open.
President Asaf Ali Zardari told visiting CIA chief Leon Panetta that the US must respect Pakistani sovereignty. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani pointed out that the United Nations mandate to NATO was only for operations in Afghanistan, not in Pakistan, and Panetta is said to have granted the point.
Foreign Policy Trans-Afghan Oil Pipe line
China has been able to complete a deal to build a rail transit line from Pakistan, through Afghanistan to Uzbekistan. India had also bid on this.
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.
For an overview on US Bases check this website
Secret US Bases in Turkmenistan
There has been a rail line started between Iran and Herat in Afghanistan but it is so far incomplete.
From NYTimes Report on Pakistan cutting supply route.
From MSNBC Report on US Supply lines being squeezed in Afghanistan
From Euroasianet.org Problems with Uzbek corruption affecting rail transit.
From Stars & Stripes update on Manas Air Base