Nato hit by Pakistani blockade

2011-11-28 13:44
Kabul - Supplies for Nato in Afghanistan have been hit by a Pakistani blockade enforced after a cross-border strike killed 24 of its troops, but it remains unclear how seriously coalition forces will suffer.

There are around 140 000 foreign troops in landlocked Afghanistan waging a 10-year battle against a Taliban-led insurgency who rely on fuel, food and equipment brought in from outside.

Nearly half of all cargo bound for foreign troops’ routes through Pakistan, which closed the border to Nato traffic on Saturday. But the coalition force insists its fight against the Taliban will not be affected.

"Isaf uses a vast supply and distribution network to ensure coalition forces remain well-stocked in order to carry out their assigned mission across Afghanistan," said Lieutenant Gregory Keeley, a spokesperson for the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Kabul.

Other routes

Some 48% of all coalition cargo usually passes through two points on the Pakistan border, while for US forces, who provide around 100 000 troops in Afghanistan, the figure is around 30%, he said.

ISAF and the US have been building up alternative supply routes through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan from the north of Afghanistan as relations between Washington and Islamabad have deteriorated this year.

The so-called Northern Distribution Network has been built up to address concerns about over-reliance on Pakistani supply lines amid what was a growing US troop commitment in Afghanistan.

The northern route accounts for 52% of coalition cargo transport and 40% for the US, which also receives around 30% of its supplies by air, Keely said.

But US officials admit that the Pakistan route is cheaper and shorter.

John Bolton, former US ambassador to the United Nations, told Fox News that US forces also keep stockpiles in case supply lines are choked as in the past.

"This is not the first time, our forces do have stockpiles on the Afghan side of the border," he said. "It is obviously something that needs to be corrected but there is no immediate concern."

Keeley would not discuss how long stockpiles would tide foreign troops over, calling it an "operational issue."

Warning for Isaf

The last time the Pakistani border was closed to foreign military supplies was in September last year for 10 days following a previous Nato strike that killed up to three Pakistani soldiers.

The deadliest such incident prior to the weekend strike came in June 2008 when another Nato strike killed 11 Pakistani soldiers.

Some warn that Isaf will need to take swift action to address Saturday's murky incident to ensure that supplies are not disrupted in the longer-term.

"Even a closure lasting more than a week should not impact operations on the ground, especially now that stockpiles have been established and the alternative Northern Distribution Network has been significantly expanded," intelligence analysts Stratfor wrote in assessment of the situation.

"But Washington is not yet completely free of its reliance on supplies moved through Pakistan and so will need to find a way to resume the flow."

Retired US general Barry McCaffrey told NBC News that he believed the coalition effort in Afghanistan was "one step short of a strategic crisis".

"I do not believe we can continue operations at this rate," he said. "So we've got to talk to them, we've got to pay them, we've got to apologise for this strike. We have no option, literally."
- SAPA
Read more on:    nato  |  afghanistan  |  pakistan  |  security
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off all TV Series!

Want to have a chilled day at home? Get 20% off TV series, the perfect excuse to "veg out". Shop now!

Save R700 on the Hisense LED TV Now R2499

Get the Hisense 32” HD ready LED TV for only R2499. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Your ideas may feel like a sea of thoughts swimming around every which way, and now you need to find something to contain them in...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.