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Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by LETHALFORCE, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    NATO supply routes old and new

    NATO supply routes old and new

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  2. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Pakistan: Trucks torched at NATO supply terminal

    Pakistan: Trucks torched at NATO supply terminal


    Pakistan: Trucks torched at NATO supply terminal
    AP

    PESHAWAR, Pakistan – Suspected Taliban militants stormed a depot in northwest Pakistan that handles supplied for NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan on Wednesday and torched eight trucks, police said.

    Elsewhere in the region, the Pakistani army battled militants in an offensive that has sent hundreds of thousands fleeing.

    Attacks on terminals and trucks rolling through the Khyber Pass toward Afghanistan have intensified since last year, adding to concern that more regions along the Afghan border are slipping from government control and into the hands of Taliban and al-Qaida.

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai warned Wednesday that the threat militants pose to both countries was very real.

    "Terrorists and extremists are extending their reach in whole areas of our countries," Karzai told a regional economic conference in the capital, Islamabad.

    The depot attack saw dozens of militants pour into the transport terminal near the northwest city of Peshawar and set the trucks ablaze before fleeing, police official Ghafoor Khan Afridi said. Most of the terminals have few if any guards.

    Firefighters quickly doused the flames, and metal shipping containers holding NATO supplies were unscathed, he said.

    NATO and U.S. commanders say their losses from the attacks have been minimal and pose no threat to their expanding military operation in Afghanistan. Still, they have begun seeking alternative routes through Central Asia.

    The latest attack comes as Pakistan's army is embroiled in a major operation — launched under intense U.S. pressure — to evict Taliban militants from the Swat Valley and two other districts uncomfortably close to Islamabad.

    On Tuesday, the military said helicopters dropped commandos behind Taliban lines in Swat and claimed that it had killed more than 750 militants since the operation began in late April.

    But the military acknowledged it had yet to start operations in the region's main town of Mingora, where witnesses say Taliban insurgents are in control and preparing for what could be bloody door-to-door fighting.

    The latest conflict has prompted an estimated 800,000 people to flee their homes, in addition to a half-million refugees from earlier military offensives in the northwest, and adding a humanitarian emergency to Pakistan's mounting problems.
     
  3. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Taliban attack NATO trucks in Pakistan - CNN.com

    Taliban attack NATO trucks in Pakistan

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Taliban militants attacked NATO supply terminals Wednesday morning, torching at least 10 supply trucks in northern Pakistan, local officials said.

    About 70 Taliban fighters attacked the facility in Peshawar, police said. A gunfight ensued between the insurgents and police.

    No casualties were reported.

    Peshawar is the capital of the North West Frontier Province, which intelligence officials say is rife with Islamic extremists and has been the site of recent clashes between Pakistani security forces and militants.


    Because Afghanistan is landlocked, many supplies for NATO-led troops fighting Islamic militants there must be trucked in from Pakistan.

    Convoys carrying food and military supplies have regularly come under attack in the area.
     
  4. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Uzbek leader announces air transit for NATO Afghan operations

    Uzbek leader announces air transit for NATO Afghan operations

    by Staff Writers
    Tashkent (AFP) May 11, 2009
    Uzbekistan has begun shipping non-military supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan through its central cargo airport in the city of Navoi, President Islam Karimov said on Monday.

    The Uzbek leader made the announcement at a meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak, whose country is upgrading Navoi airport to become a major transport hub.

    "Now, through Novoi airport, transport has begun of non-military supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan," Karimov said at the meeting.

    The announcement represents the latest step by this ex-Soviet state to provide transit support for Western operations in Afghanistan.

    It is part of a wider push by the United States to increase transit through the former Soviet states to support an expanded US troop presence in Afghanistan.

    Uzbekistan has also agreed to allow transit by rail of bulkier goods such as building materials to support the long-term US presence in Afghanistan.

    Growing disruption to supply routes through Pakistan has made it all the more essential for Western forces to boost transit through the ex-Soviet states located on the north side of Afghanistan.

    Several of the states have agreed only to transit of non-lethal supplies, such as food or building supplies, rather than transit of weapons or ammunition.

    This reflects political sensitivities over the Western presence in ex-Soviet Central Asia, which Russia in particular has voiced worries about.
     
  5. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Britain struggling to re-supply Afghan frontline: watchdog

    Britain struggling to re-supply Afghan frontline: watchdog

    by Staff Writers
    London (AFP) May 14, 2009
    Britain's Ministry of Defence is struggling to meet its targets for quickly resupplying frontline troops in Afghanistan, the National Audit Office said in a report Thursday.

    Shortages of spare parts for helicopters have also led to "cannibalisation" of equipment to keep aircraft flying in southern Afghanistan, where NATO-led troops are battling Taliban insurgents.

    There have been improvements in supply chains, but overall only 57 percent of consignments reach their destination on time, said the office, which audits the accounts of all British government departments.

    "The (MoD) has... found it difficult to meet supply chain targets, in part because of fluctuations in demand," said the report, while noting that "there are signs that the supply chain is becoming more resilient."

    Britain is the second-biggest contributor of foreign troops to Afghanistan after the United States, deploying around 8,300 as part of a NATO-led force based mostly in the south, the heartland of a Taliban insurgency.

    Prime Minister Gordon Brown last month announced a temporary increase to 9,000 soldiers, to help provide security for elections in August.

    But the report said the Ministry of Defence is struggling to find a "harmony" balance between soldiers' time on the frontline, in training and back with their families in Britain.

    "Both the army and the Royal Air Force are struggling to meet harmony guidelines," said the report, which also assessed support for forces in Iraq, from where British troops are withdrawing.

    On equipment, it said military authorities are exceeding targets on the availability of helicopters.

    "Although none of the helicopter types was designed to operate in the environmental conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan, Chinook, Puma, Apache and Merlin have coped consistently with the harsh conditions," it said.

    But it added: "There has been a paucity of some spare parts for some helicopter types which has led to short-term cannibalisation of helicopters in theatre."

    Responding to the NAO report, minister for defence equipment and support Quentin Davies acknowledged delays but underlined improvements.

    "Our troops are as well equipped as any professional armed forces in the world today," he said, noting that some 5.8 billion pounds' worth of equipment (6.5 billion euros or 8.8 billion dollars) had been supplied during the period covered by the report.

    "Delays to projects featured... while regrettable, have not led to gaps in our present frontline capability," he added.

    But Edward Leigh, the chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee which oversees the work of the National Audit Office, voiced surprise that the Ministry of Defence was still having problems with its supply chain.

    "Our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are giving their all, but they don't always have what they need to get the job done," he said. "We owe it to them to make sure they've got what they need, when they need it."
     
  6. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Karzai asks Kyrgyzstan to back down on base: report

    Karzai asks Kyrgyzstan to back down on base: report

    KC-135 Stratotanker at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan.
    by Staff Writers
    Bishkek (AFP) June 6, 2009
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai has asked Kyrgyzstan to change its position on the future of a key US base which Bishkek has ordered closed, a Kyrgyz official said on Saturday.

    Kyrgyzstan voted in March to evict US-led coalition forces from the airbase at Manas, a vital hub for the US military and NATO allies and used to ferry troops and supplies in and out of conflict-torn Afghanistan.

    Maksim Kaganer, the deputy head of the Kyrgyz presidential secretariat, told the Azattyk radio that Karzai sent a letter to Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev requesting him to reconsider the decision.

    "He is asking Mr Bakiyev to show support to the people of Afghanistan in the fight with terrorism and allow the future use of the Manas base for international forces carrying out operations in Afghanistan."

    A source in Kyrgyzstan's foreign ministry told AFP that Karzai has offered to take part in one-on-one discussions with Bakiyev, possibly at a regional security summit meeting in the Russian city of Ekaterinburg this month.

    "The key themes will be questions of providing assistance in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and the anti-terrorist coalition force at Manas based on Kyrgyz territory," the source said.

    The Kyrgyz government had announced it was evicting the US military after Moscow agreed to provide over two billion dollars worth of loans and aid to the impoverished former Soviet republic.

    Since the closure was announced, Washington has secured transit routes for non-lethal cargo through several other Central Asian states, but the agreements do not address the problem of troop and military material transport.
     
  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/14/world/asia/14afghan.html?ref=global-home

    Attack on NATO Supply Convoy Kills 4 Afghans

    By ADAM B. ELLICK
    Published: June 13, 2009
    KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber driving a pickup truck detonated his payload of explosives in a hotel parking lot used by NATO trucks, killing four Afghan drivers, injuring eight others and destroying 12 vehicles in Helmand Province on Friday night, Afghan officials said.

    The attack is believed to be among the first in Afghanistan targeting a stationary convoy, and comes several weeks after Taliban leaders boldly threatened to unveil new tactics over the summer to counter an increase in American troops in this increasingly violent war.

    The Taliban, who claimed responsibility for the attack in the northern area of Gereshk district, said the attack killed 33 security guards and burned 17 vehicles, mostly fuel tankers.

    “The man who carried out the blessed duty against those who help the occupying troops was named Abdul Aziz from Helmand,” said a Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi.

    “In the future, we will continue to target convoys and those who escort and drive them,” he said.

    A NATO official said that Friday’s attack will have “absolutely no effect on our supplies,” because the forces possess ample storage supplies around the country.

    “We have so many different ways of getting into the country,” said the official, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press.

    As the American-led war intensifies in this landlocked nation, and as security in Pakistan deteriorates, the issue of supply lines has become a source of concern.

    More than three-quarters of the supplies for NATO and American troops in Afghanistan flow through Pakistan, and attacks aimed at choking off supply routes were especially frequent and brazen in late 2008 and early 2009.

    In a high-profile attack in December, militants blasted a NATO fleet consisting of 300 cargo trucks and humvees in Pakistan.

    International forces have been trying to develop reliable alternative routes amid fears that Russia could restrict access through Uzbekistan and Tajikistan en route to Afghanistan. The possible loss of a critical air base in Kyrgyzstan has also escalated the search for alternate routes.

    Taimoor Shah contributed reporting.
     
  8. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Kyrgyz parliament ratifies new US airbase agreement

    Kyrgyz parliament ratifies new US airbase agreement


    by Staff Writers
    Bishkek (AFP) June 25, 2009
    The Kyrgyzstan parliament on Thursday ratified a US-Kyrgyz agreement allowing the United States to keep using an airbase to support operations in Afghanistan.

    A huge majority of 75 lawmakers in the 90-member parliament voted to let the United States maintain a "transit centre" at the airbase in Manas, just outside the capital Bishkek.

    None voted against the agreement, which was signed by US and Kyrgyz officials earlier this week.

    The Central Asian nation changed course after last February ordering the US base to close, a decision that would have been a blow to US efforts in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban.

    Under the new agreement, the United States will more than triple the annual rent it pays Kyrgyzstan for using Manas, while the base will formally become a "transit centre" for the shipment of supplies to Afghanistan.

    "This is no longer a military airbase, the coalition soldiers must leave now. The dismantling of the base infrastructure can begin," Kabai Karabekov, a lawmaker from the country's ruling Ak Zhol party, said after the vote.

    "This is nothing more than a corridor for transit," he added.

    Despite Karabekov's comments about evicting soldiers, the agreement allows US administrative and technical personnel to remain, and officials have said they will be allowed to carry weapons.

    Kyrgyz officials also said that from now on Manas will only be used for the transit of "non-military" goods -- but in fact the agreement places no restrictions on what US forces may ship through it.

    The US government and its personnel may bring "any form of personal property, equipment, provisions, materials, technology" into and out of Kyrgyzstan, according to the text ratified by parliament.

    Moreover US flights into and out of Manas may not by be searched by Kyrgyz authorities, the agreement says.

    Kyrgyzstan's decision last February to close the base was widely believed to have been made under pressure from Russia.

    President Kurmanbek Bakiyev announced the decision during a visit to Moscow on the same day that Russia unveiled a generous financial aid package to his impoverished Central Asian nation.

    Russia has consistently played down any role in Kyrgyzstan's decision. But the presence of a US base in Moscow's former Soviet domains in Central Asia had long been an irritant to the Kremlin.

    The Manas airbase is currently used to ferry tens of thousands of troops in and out of Afghanistan each year and also hosts planes used for the mid-air refuelling of combat aircraft.

    It was opened in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
     
  9. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/04/world/europe/04russia.html?_r=1

    Russia Opens Route for U.S. to Fly Arms to Afghanistan


    MOSCOW — The Russian government has agreed to let American troops and weapons bound for Afghanistan fly over Russian territory, providing an important new corridor for the United States military as it escalates efforts to win the eight-year-old war, officials on both sides said Friday.

    The agreement, to be formally announced when President Obama visits here Monday and Tuesday, represents one of the most concrete achievements in his attempt to press the reset button after years of tension between the United States and Russia.

    But before the anticipated summit meeting, the two governments failed to make a trade deal or resolve differences over missile defense and are struggling to craft a preliminary agreement to cut nuclear arms that they can unveil.

    The tough haggling and the mixture of success with stalemate leading up to Mr. Obama’s visit illustrate just how sticky the reset button can be.

    The promise of a new era of cooperation was always predicated on the tenuous notion that a change of tone and shift in emphasis in the United States might be enough to bridge deep divisions. But even with both sides eager for warmer ties, the issues that have torn Washington and Moscow apart did not go away with the change in tenancy at the White House.

    Mr. Obama is less enthusiastic than former President George W. Bush about inviting the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia into NATO or building an anti-missile system in Eastern Europe, but he has not abandoned either goal, much to the consternation of the Kremlin. And despite American pressure, Russia has not yielded in its continuing confrontation with Georgia nearly a year after the two countries waged a brief war.

    Mr. Obama’s first visit here as president will be a test of his foreign policy. American officials said the larger message of Mr. Obama’s visit is to show that rebuilding the relationship with Russia is a priority. If the Russians do not take him up on his open hand, the American officials said, he will simply move on to other priorities.

    But Mr. Obama faces a reservoir of resentment among Russians who believe America has never met them halfway. “There’s a lot of suspicion that this has been talk, talk, talk — let’s see some real action,” said Vladimir Pozner, a talk show host on state television and longtime observer of Russian-American relations. “At this point, there is a little bit of hope and a lot of distrust.”

    Richard R. Burt, a former American diplomat who is part of a Russian-American group called Global Zero, which is pushing the two sides to pursue nuclear disarmament, said Mr. Obama must overcome that suspicion. “I just get the sense that the Russians are kind of grumpy, so there’s still some sharpness on the Russian side, despite pushing the reset button,” Mr. Burt said.

    At the same time, Mr. Obama faces pressure at home not to go soft on Russia. Mr. Obama sounded a tough note this week when he said Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin still “has one foot in the old ways.” Mr. Obama also is sending Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to visit Georgia and Ukraine after the summit meeting to demonstrate that he will not abandon them.

    “On NATO expansion and missile defense, I would just say this, that we’re definitely not going to use the word ‘reassure’ in the way that we talk about these things,” said Michael McFaul, the president’s top Russia adviser. “We’re not going to reassure or give or trade anything with the Russians regarding NATO expansion or missile defense.”

    Still, the new transit route over Russia represents an important step in diplomatic relations. Until now, Russia has restricted use of its territory for the Afghan war, permitting shipments of non-lethal supplies by train. Under the new agreement, American officials said, military planes carrying lethal equipment as well as troops will be allowed to make thousands of flights a year through Russian airspace.

    “Afghanistan is one of the areas where we must cooperate,” Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament, said in an interview. Russia understands, he said, that the United States and NATO forces in Afghanistan are effectively defending Russia’s southern flank.

    The agreement on Afghanistan was a high priority for Mr. Obama, who has ordered an extra 21,000 American troops to join the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda forces there. Supply routes through Pakistan have become complicated by that country’s increasing volatility, while Uzbekistan evicted American troops from a base a few years ago and Kyrgyzstan threatened recently to do the same. American negotiators recently persuaded Kyrgyzstan to change its mind by increasing payments for the base there.

    But with Mr. Obama preparing to depart on Sunday, negotiators for the two sides were still trying to work out a preliminary agreement on nuclear arms cuts that he could announce along with President Dmitri A. Medvedev. The so-called framework agreement would lay out the parameters of a treaty to be drafted by the end of the year to replace the expiring cold war Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

    The two sides hope to lay out a range of possible limits for warheads and delivery vehicles as well as address issues like the verification of conventional arms. They are talking about a range for warheads of around 1,500 to 1,800, down from the 2,200 limit in a treaty signed by Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin in 2002, and a range for delivery vehicles from perhaps 300 to 1,500.

    But they have not yet agreed on the numbers and Russia wants to tie the negotiations to the dispute over missile defense. While Washington maintains the anti-missile system is intended to defend against a future threat from Iran, Moscow sees it as aimed at itself and wants the agreement that Mr. Obama and Mr. Medvedev sign to link limits on offensive and defensive weapons.

    However that turns out, the two sides want to build on the summit to make further progress. The Obama team proposed a new version of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission of the 1990s, named for Vice President Al Gore and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

    The Russians rejected the idea of pairing Mr. Putin with Mr. Biden. “Putin’s not a vice president,” an American official quoted the Russians saying.

    So instead, officials on both sides said, Mr. Obama and Mr. Medvedev ostensibly will head the commission, but leave it to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov to run. Subgroups will be set up on various issues like climate change and energy.

    “This is like a mid-semester report card,” said Sarah E. Mendelson, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It’s not looking like an A but it’s not a D either.”

    Ellen Barry contributed reporting from Moscow
     
  10. Kabuli

    Kabuli Regular Member

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    I think the most realistic route is that from central Asia south into Afghanistan. Although, it will be at the mercy of Russia, it is the only realistic route. Both routes through Pakistan can be harassed and maybe even cut by insurgents. We have seen them destroy bridges, depots, etc. It seems as though the security contractors and Pak-military are not interested in protecting them. Although, now it does not seem to be choking as it was a few months prior. The route from Chahabar to Zaranj is not very realistic. Nimroz is in the south bordering Helmand i.e. Taliban heartland. Although, insurgents are not as active there re-routing supplies through the areas will most definitely increase insurgent activity. I think Taliban will then try to operate cross-border into Iran. That is a problem for Iran, one I do not think they are ready to accept. Also, I believe after the "elections" in Iran and the aftermath Iran will not be open to US & European overtures. Though, Chahabar would be the most ideal route.
     

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