NATO: Iran Possible Source For Afghan Supplies

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by samarsingh, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. samarsingh

    samarsingh Regular Member

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    KABUL — NATO would not oppose individual member nations making deals with Iran to supply their forces in Afghanistan as an alternative to using increasingly risky routes from Pakistan, the alliance's top military commander said Monday.

    Gen. John Craddock's comments came just days after NATO's secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, urged the U.S. and other members of the Western military alliance to engage with Iran to combat Taliban militants in Afghanistan.

    "Those would be national decisions. Nations should act in a manner that is consistent with their national interest and with their ability to resupply their forces," Craddock, an American who is NATO's supreme allied commander, told The Associated Press. "I think it is purely up to them."

    Securing alternative routes to landlocked Afghanistan has taken on added urgency this year as the United States prepares to double its troop numbers there to 60,000 to battle a resurgent Taliban eight years after the U.S.-led invasion.

    It also comes at a time when the main supply corridor through neighboring Pakistan is becoming increasingly dangerous as insurgents attack convoys that supply the foreign troops in Afghanistan.

    Some political and military leaders have hinted at the need for closer cooperation with the government in Iran over the war in Afghanistan, where some 70,000 NATO and U.S. troops are currently trying to beat back the resurgent Taliban.

    The United States has viewed Iran's role in Afghanistan with suspicion, although the Islamic Republic has a long history of opposing Taliban rule.

    U.S. officials have previously alleged that Iranian-made weapons and explosive devices were finding their way in the hands of insurgents in Afghanistan. But such criticism has been muted recently as President Barack Obama's administration tries to set a new tone in relations with Iran.

    Some experts suggest that nations with good relations with Iran such as France, Germany and Italy may try to set up an alternate supply route to western Afghanistan via Char Bahar, a port in southeastern Iran.

    "NATO is looking at flexible, alternate routing. I think that is healthy," Craddock said, when asked about the possibility of using Iranian territory for supply.

    "Options are a good thing, choices are a good thing, flexibility in military operations is essential," he said. "What nations will do is up to them," he said, without elaborating.

    Craddock's comments came after U.S. Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus said last month that America had struck deals with Russia and several Central Asian states close to or bordering Afghanistan to allow supplies to pass through their territory.

    U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan get up to 75 percent of "non-lethal" supplies such as food, fuel and building materials from shipments that cross Pakistan.

    link

    comments: this is an old article, there were several others in associated press a few months ago, seem to be unavailable now. I don't see how NATO members can use Iran for military supplies. But all "non-lethal" supplies sure can be run through Iran. The thing is one never gets to hear about any such developments in mainstream media and everything from the alternative media cannot be relied upon. Would appreciate comments on the plausibility of such a NATO-Iran deal
     
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  3. samarsingh

    samarsingh Regular Member

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    here's one more related article

    Taliban attack NATO supply lines in northwest Pakistan
    By Bill RoggioMarch 28, 2009

    The Taliban have temporarily shut down NATO's main supply route into Afghanistan after damaging a bridge in Pakistan's Khyber agencies. The strike coincided with an attack on a truck terminal in Peshawar that is used by NATO supply convoys.

    A bridge that served as "a key road link" between the provincial capital of Peshawar and the Torkham border crossing was damaged after being struck by a mortar, Daily Times reported. The damage has forced the bridge in the Landi Kotal region to be shut down. The closure has halted the flow of NATO supplies into Afghanistan.

    Yesterday's attack forced the Pakistani government to shut down the supply route for the seventh time since September 2008. Another bridge in Khyber was also damaged in a bombing on Feb. 3. That attack shut down the route for several days until the bridge could be repaired.

    The same day, a Taliban suicide bomber detonated in the middle of a packed mosque in the Jamrud district in Pakistan's Khyber agency. More than 70 people were reported killed and another 125 were wounded.

    The Taliban also attacked a NATO truck terminal along Peshawar's Ring Road, where more than 16 terminals operate. A large, well-armed Taliban force fired rocket-propelled grenades and launched petrol bombs at NATO vehicles and containers after breaching the Farhad Terminal early this morning.

    A brief firefight broke out between the Taliban and security forces called to the scene. "There were no casualties in the attack, but the fire gutted 12 trucks loaded with NATO supplies," a police chief said according to ARY News. "We had to call reinforcements from other police stations as Taliban outnumbered the local force and were heavily armed."

    The Taliban have conducted numerous attacks on the trucking terminals in Peshawar. After a rash of attacks late last year that resulted in the destruction of more than 450 vehicles and containers, the Pakistani government had claimed it would increase security at the terminals as well as along the route in Khyber. The Taliban attacked terminals in Peshawar two nights straight on March 15-16. More than 50 containers and military vehicles were destroyed.

    Just two days before today's attack, Pakistani officials told the owners of the 16 trucking terminals not to store NATO containers or vehicles overnight, to prevent Taliban nightime attacks, The News reported. Officials previously have sought to have the trucking terminals moved from Peshawar to Punjab province in the east to avoid Taliban attacks, but district officials in Punjab protested the plans.

    The government has launched multiple security operations in Peshawar and the neighboring Khyber tribal agency since last summer in an effort to push the Taliban out of the region. While the government claims the threat in Peshawar has been eliminated, the Taliban has stepped up attacks on police outposts and the trucking terminals.

    NATO's most vital resupply route for its forces in Afghanistan stretches from the Pakistani port city of Karachi to Peshawar, then on through the Khyber Pass to Kabul. More than 70 percent of NATO supplies and 40 percent of its fuel moves through Peshawar.

    The US military has dismissed the attacks in Peshawar and Khyber as inconsequential, but the growing Taliban insurgency in the Northwest Frontier Province, coupled with the assault on the supply lines, has forced NATO to seek alternative supply routes into Afghanistan. In late January, NATO secured an agreement with Russia to allow supplies to pass through the Central Asian republics. NATO officials have said its members could use Iranian routes to resupply its forces, and the US is also exploring the possibility of establishing routes through Iran.

    NATO Supplies

    comments:- again this is an old article from alternative media.
     
  4. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Iran provided a lot of help to the US right after 9/11 to topple the Taliban. However, instead of building on that relationship , the neocon lobby shot themselves in the foot by adopting a confrontational stance with them. On topof that they went and did the Iraq disaster.

    Otherwise NATO supplies as well as intelligence sharing was common right after 9/11.
     
  5. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    So if NATO countries can cut deals with Iran to supply their soldiers obviously with the backing of the US, can india cut deals for its oil and gas supply?? Last I heard was US putting sanctions on anyone working with Iran. Kind of reminded of an old hindi saying. "musibat me ghade ko bhi baap banana padta hai" (when in danger, we should make an even an ass our father)
     
  6. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    If this nuclear issue is resolved amicably then definitely Iran is a lot better and reliable option compared to Pakistan. Iran is a lot more stable than Pakistan.
     
  7. samarsingh

    samarsingh Regular Member

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    wouldn't getting Iran on board have been helpful in Iraq considering its majority Shia population. btw most Shia armed groups in Iraq are supported by Iran (may be covertly) just like ISI has supported Taliban. The US would definitely know about all this. having said that maybe the confusion and chaos kind of serves US strategy in the region
     
  8. samarsingh

    samarsingh Regular Member

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    US is opposed to the pipeline deal not just because of Iran. The fact that the pipeline got India-Iran-Pakistan together on the table is what scares Uncle. Note any economic cooperation in the long term demands and ensures peace. The fact that India-Pakistan-Iran can work in peace is not acceptable to US of A.
    and they are planning a super highway from Mexico to Canada. This is no conspiracy theory stuff.
    here is official confirmation from the concerned US govt department website
    http://www.borderplanning.fhwa.dot.gov/
    I don't see China, India, EU or Russia making noises about this NAFTA highway.

    As far as sanctions are concerned Coca Cola is allowed to do business in Iran but Boeing is not (even for the civilian aircraft thus endangering the lives of civilians). Iran is now contemplating banning Coca Cola , IBM and other Us companies
     
  9. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Greatest Lie...NATO is Deflecting the blame from all time favorable non-NATO- ALie pakistan to protect it after its double game was exposed by wikileaks.
     
  10. samarsingh

    samarsingh Regular Member

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    sorry I didn't mention the dates but both the articles are quite old.
    These articles were out long before wikileaks.
     
  11. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    even iran is accusing pak of double dealing.....

    Pakistan's double dealing

    Mon, 02 Aug 2010 06:47:31 GMT
    Font size :

    By Tahereh Ghanaati

    Double, double
    Toil and trouble
    Macbeth by William Shakespeare


    Wikileaks' recent release of the 'Afghan War Diary,' a collection of classified battlefield reports from the war in Afghanistan, has set the Internet abuzz with speculation. Though many of these documents are controversial, some of the most inflammatory are the reports detailing Pakistan's double dealing.

    Indeed, Islamabad's continued cooperation with the Taliban -- literally, behind the US-led coalition's back -- may very well spell out payback time for the double-dealers.

    Though the beleaguered Afghan government has, for years, accused Pakistan of laxity in preventing militants from escaping over the border, most of the world took little notice, dismissing the accusations as the ranting of desperate officials besieged by an increasingly powerful Taliban.

    At the same time, Tehran has long accused Islamabad of harboring the leaders of the terrorist group, Jundallah, which have used Pakistan not only as their base, but as a springboard from which to launch terrorist attacks on Iran. Yet, most of the media paid the group scant notice and the world, as a whole, remained in ignorance.

    The recently released reports, however, have been impossible to sweep under the proverbial rug and Pakistan's duplicity has finally come to the public's attention.

    The documents reveal that the Pakistani military intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has long aided and abetted the Taliban -- since the beginning of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan -- and while billions of dollars in US aid (American taxpayers' money) were being poured into Islamabad's coffers.

    In other words, 'Joe Six-pack' was paying his hard-earned tax dollars (albeit indirectly) to a government, which was helping terrorists kill his son, who had been serving in the US Army in Afghanistan!

    How will that news grab American voters when elections roll around? That is what is meant by 'payback time.' Despite Washington's attempts to dismiss the treachery by pointing to Pakistan's strategic value as an ally and protesting that the country is mending its ways and is now trying to cooperate, the American people will most likely demand major revisions in US foreign policy -- at least where Islamabad is concerned.

    If the Pakistani government had merely offered the Taliban refuge -- i.e. turned its back when the militants slipped over the border -- it would have been bad enough. But there are strong indications that Islamabad's deceit goes much further than that. According to the leaked documents, ISI agents actually helped the Taliban organize groups to fight US soldiers and assassinate Afghan leaders.

    Though US officials may not have known the full extent of Pakistan's treachery, they obviously were aware of it on some level and had their suspicions regarding it. They had certainly been given ample warning.

    As early as 2001, author and political analyst Ted Galen Carpenter, who also serves as vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute (a non-partisan Washington think tank,) named Pakistan as one of the three top countries sponsoring terror.

    In his article, which appeared on the Cato Institute's website on November 16, 2001, Carpenter writes, "Without the active support of the government in Islamabad, it is doubtful whether the Taliban could ever have come to power in Afghanistan. Pakistani authorities helped fund the militia and equip it with military hardware during the mid-1990s when the Taliban was merely one of several competing factions in Afghanistan's civil war… Even now it is not certain that key members of Pakistan's intelligence service have repudiated their Taliban clients."

    Remember, this article was written only five weeks after the October 7 invasion of Afghanistan.

    Author and Middle East expert Daniel Byman, who is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute's Saban Center for Middle East Policy, in his 2005 book, titled Deadly Connections: States that Sponsor Terrorism, agrees. He writes, "Pakistan is probably today's most active sponsor of terrorism." Byman then goes on to illustrate how Pakistan has used terrorism to fight a proxy war against its old rival, India.

    Then there is the article by the journalist, author and Muslim convert, Stephen Schwartz, titled "A Threat to the World." The piece, which appeared in the August 19, 2006 issue of the British publication, The Spectator, warns that several militant and criminal groups are "backed by senior officers in the Pakistani army, the country's ISI intelligence establishment and other armed bodies of the state."

    It might be mentioned that Schwartz, as he relates in his 2002 book, titled The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa'ud from Tradition to Terror, maintains that so-called 'Islamic' terrorism is, in actuality, a government-manufactured tool, which is used to attain certain political ends. In his book, Schwartz focuses on Saudi Arabia, in particular, as the primary state sponsor of terrorism, and its ability to do so, which he claims hinges -- to some extent -- on the unique relationship between the House of Sa'ud and the Bush family.
    In the article appearing in The Spectator, however, Schwartz includes Pakistan (at least the Pakistani top brass and the ISI) as sponsoring terrorism, as well.

    As far as home-grown critics are concerned, there is Pakistani author and journalist Ahmed Rashid. In his 2008 book, titled Descent into Chaos, which analyzes past mistakes made by the US-led coalition in the Afghan war, Rashid accuses Pakistan's ISI of providing support as well as a haven for the Taliban.

    And finally, there is current Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, who admitted, according to an article appearing in the July 8, 2009 issue of the British publication, The Daily Telegraph, that his country's government had "created and nurtured" terrorist groups to achieve its short-term foreign policy goals.

    "These groups were not thrown up because of government weakness, but as a matter of policy," the article states. "He (Zardari) said they were deliberately "created and nurtured" as a policy to achieve some short-term tactical objectives," it adds.

    As was mentioned earlier, even before the Wikileaks incident, some US politicians and top military brass were obviously aware of the situation.

    An article appearing in the May 11, 2010 issue of The Daily Telegraph relates that US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she believed that certain officials in the Pakistani government were aware of the exact location of al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, (who is hiding in Pakistan's tribal regions.)

    The item quotes Clinton as telling Pakistani officials, "… I believe that somewhere in this government are people who know where Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda is, where Mullah Omar and the leadership of the Afghan Taliban is, and we expect more co-operation to help us bring to justice, capture or kill those who attacked us on 9/11."

    And then there is the allusion by Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the US and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, who has mentioned the connection between the ISI and "the bad guys."

    In fact, numbers of experts, including some US officials and analysts in India, believe that Islamabad is 'playing both ends against the middle' -- in other words, making a show of (token) cooperation with the United States while actually fomenting the insurgency by aiding the Taliban.
    But why would Pakistan want to play such a game? What would it gain from a prolonged Afghan war and continued insurgency?

    Part of the answer lies in the reason why it is offering sanctuary to another terrorist group, Jundallah, which has used Pakistan as a base and springboard to launch numerous attacks in Iran.

    Look at it this way. The game is tricky and treacherous, but if Pakistan is able to 'pull it off,' the rewards will be enormous. Indeed, the rewards are already great.

    One proxy war, waged by pro-Taliban, home-grown terrorists in the South and another, fought by Jundallah in the North, can at least serve to occupy -- if not weaken or neutralize Pakistan's two more powerful neighbors, India and Iran. The Taliban, itself, poses little threat and an ascendant Taliban in Afghanistan would mean, again by proxy, greater Pakistani influence in that country.

    And then there's the financial aspect. The Afghan war has proved a windfall for Pakistan and a lengthy conflict is definitely to its benefit. As recently as July 18 of this year, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced an additional $7.5 billion in aid to Pakistan in an attempt to win the Pakistanis over fully to the US cause. This is on top of the billions in military aid that have already poured into the country.

    In fact, speaking of military aid, the United States is sending Islamabad 18 upgraded F-16 fighters, which will make Pakistan the only country besides Israel to receive the latest version of the planes. According to a spokesman for the Pakistani Air Force, the capabilities of these high-tech aircraft would provide the PAF with "the means to counter the offensive designs of any air force" and they would be used to "deal with all internal and external threats."
    Despite US assurances to the contrary, India is worried and apparently with good reason. The point is, just who does Pakistan consider a threat? Obviously not the Taliban, Jundallah, al-Qaeda or any Pakistani pro-Taliban group.

    Islamabad's double dealing has paid richly up to now; but the future may prove to be something else, entirely. Pakistan's duplicity is now public knowledge and US congressional elections are fast approaching. Most ordinary people prefer straightforward allies to double-dealers and choose honor over expediency.
     

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