Author Topic: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan  (Read 15506 times)

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Online Colin P

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Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« on: September 06, 2008, 00:44:58 »
My main fear in Afghanistan is the lack of a secondary supply line into the country, I just read elsewhere that Pakistan is holding up supplies as a response to the alleged SF raid into South Waziristan. With the conflict with Russia, it’s unlikely they will allow large quantities of NATO supplies through their country, nor would we want to have another gun against our head. It makes sense that supplies start their journey from Turkey, who already have a decent infrastructure in place.
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/07/24/europe/EU-Turkey-Railway.php

Two major hurdles is the distance, roughly 3,000 miles from Western Turkey to Kabul and numerous handling points. You will notice that I focused on railways as I felt this gave the fastest, most reliable transit for goods with minimal handling, pilferage and damage. The next question would be; “Which country next”?

Georgia
 Clearly Georgia will bend over backwards to increase NATO’s presence there, they would likely be very helpful. It has connections already with Azerbaijan including a currently damaged rail line. The above link shows the intent to create a rail link from Turkey to Baku via Georgia.
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/International_Business/%20Azerbaijan_halts_oil_exports_via_Georgia_ports/articleshow/3347118.cms

http://article.wn.com/view/2008/08/19/BP_says_Azeri_oil_exports_by_rail_to_Georgia_halted/


Armenia
Armenia and Azerbaijan are locked in a dispute over control of a territory, it is unlikely that the infrastructure that exists between the 2 countries is viable for the amount of supplies required
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenia

Azerbaijan
Has a certain amount of infrastructure including the port of Baku and a rail line from Tibilisi in Georgia running to Baku on the Caspian sea

http://www.travel-images.com/az-rail-map.gif
http://www.caspar.baku.az/eng/company.html
http://au.encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761560153/caspian_sea.html


Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan appears to offer the best option on the East side of the Caspian, they are already upgrading their railway system which goes to the Caspian port of Dzhanga and are building or have built a link into Afghanistan. This link could be extended further into Afghanistan providing much needed jobs and a huge economic opportunity. There is also a possibility that they could provide some of the refined fuel required.

 http://www.newscentralasia.net/Regional-News/111.html
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7537

I have not included Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan in this so far as they would likely add to the distance being travelled, that said Uzbekistan does have a short rail link into Afghanistan. Some of the short term gains from starting even a small amount of supplies through the routes suggested is that experience gained by both the West and by the countries involved will be invaluable in case of a full blockage in Pakistan. It will send a signal to Pakistan that NATO and the US is serious about our commitment to Afghanistan and that the current ace they are holding no longer has as much power as it did. This may force Pakistan to deal with issues regarding attacks into Afghanistan, safety & regularity of the supplies coming through their ports, the possible loss of economic gain caused by the current shipment and finally that with NATO’s achilles heal dealt with, the US will be more likely to attack into the NWF/tribal areas.

Long term this project will help build a economic corridor rivalling the silk road for it’s impact to the region. The West help would make this project go faster and would also benefit China as they may become a eventual terminus of the route.

I would like to know peoples thoughts on this and any local knowledge about the infrastructure along the route would be great. 

Offline Rider Pride

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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2008, 08:12:37 »
There are more than one air route into Afghanistan already. What is lacking is an oveland route into the country. Unfortunately  the best are from the south and west. Turkmenastan route has/is being looked at as an alternative.
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Online Colin P

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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2008, 19:40:46 »
Thanks, I knew about the air routes and they are good for certain things, but unpractical for fuel and other heavy bulk items needed in large enough quantity. I would like to see a small trial shipment of a couple tanker cars of fuel, a couple of containers of ammo and a couple of containers of bulk goods, shipped from Turkey. have a contingentint follow it to determine choke points, logistical issues (railcar compatibility, lifting tackle limits, etc) Administration and bureaucratic issues at borders, etc. A table top exercise is a good start, but a real life transport will show what real issues are out there.

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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2008, 19:45:02 »
Isn't this matter a bit of OPSEC even if it is speculation?
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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2008, 19:46:24 »
Thanks, I knew about the air routes and they are good for certain things, but unpractical for fuel and other heavy bulk items needed in large enough quantity.

Impractical maybe but it can be done. Look at the Berlin Airlift. It would however, certainly be prohibitively expensive.

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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2008, 21:00:53 »
Isn't this matter a bit of OPSEC even if it is speculation?

Current secondary alternative plans might be or current discussion for agreement would be confidentiel. But as you are dealing with a significant route with varied infrastructure and multiple governments, OPSEC would likely be impractical and possibly detrimental. Even the suggestion of a secondary route being planned can be used as leverage on Pakistan.

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I agree it could be done for a short while, but 70,000 troops is a lot of supplies and lot of fuel!!

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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2008, 21:04:39 »


CDN Aviator
I agree it could be done for a short while, but 70,000 troops is a lot of supplies and lot of fuel!!

If it can be done for an entire city, it can be done for 70 000 troops. It can be done indefinately, as long as we are willing to pay the price. There is nothing , in technical terms, that makes an indefinite airbridge impossible.

We would never actualy do it. We are not willing / able  to spend that much money on more airplanes, more crews and more fuel.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2008, 21:09:03 by CDN Aviator »

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2008, 21:06:08 »
Well.  A Secondary route has already been established.  Speculation about a route from some of the 'stans will always happen.  Some, however, are not likely to happen.  A route from Turkey through Georgia is a deadend, unless NATO wants to start floating a Navy in the Caspian Sea.  That would be the only way for anything in Georgia to get around Iran.  We all know Iran would rather sell arms or test arms with the Taliban than aid NATO.
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2008, 21:09:57 »
If it can be done for an entire city, it can be done for 70 000 troops. It can be done indefinately, as long as we are willing to pay the price. There is nothing , in technical, that makes an indefinite airbridge impossible.

We would never actualy do it. We are not willing / able  to spend that much money on more airplanes, more crews and more fuel.

BRING BACK THE DERIGIBLE!   Fly in high and slow....Low fuel consumption....
« Last Edit: September 06, 2008, 21:15:29 by George Wallace »
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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2008, 22:55:57 »
My main fear in Afghanistan is the lack of a secondary supply line into the country


Mine are IEDs  ;D

George, great idea.




Sure it's Russian but hell we're already using their helicopters aren't we?
« Last Edit: September 06, 2008, 23:03:15 by Flawed Design »
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Online Colin P

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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2008, 23:32:39 »
Well.  A Secondary route has already been established.  Speculation about a route from some of the 'stans will always happen.  Some, however, are not likely to happen.  A route from Turkey through Georgia is a deadend, unless NATO wants to start floating a Navy in the Caspian Sea.  That would be the only way for anything in Georgia to get around Iran.  We all know Iran would rather sell arms or test arms with the Taliban than aid NATO.

If you read the links the intent to build a rail line to Baku is still there. I doubt that Iran will be able or willing to interfere with comercial shipping going about it's business. It's not in Iran's interest to have a total collaspe of the present Afghan government and a Taliban one in it's place. They wish to keep the US presence there to busy to bother them. Iran also has interests in building up transportation links in the area to sidestep sanctions. I am sure they will be happy that the US foots some of the bill for those improvements.

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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2008, 02:47:17 »
I hate being right sometimes  >:(

Russian threat to Nato supply route in Afghanistan

Nato imports about 70 per cent of its food, fuel, water and equipment from Pakistan via the Khyber Pass

Jeremy Page in Kabul
Russia played a trump card in its strategic poker game with the West yesterday by threatening to suspend an agreement allowing Nato to take supplies and equipment to Afghanistan through Russia and Central Asia.

The agreement was struck at a Nato summit in April to provide an alternative supply route to the road between the Afghan capital and the Pakistani border, which has come under attack from militants on both sides of the frontier this year.

Zamir Kabulov, the Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan, told The Times in an interview that he believed the deal was no longer valid because Russia suspended military cooperation with Nato last week over its support for Georgia.

Asked if the move by Russia invalidated the agreement, he said: “Of course. Why not? If there is a suspension of military cooperation, this is military cooperation.”

Mr Kabulov also suggested that the stand-off over Georgia could lead Russia to review agreements allowing Nato members to use Russian airspace and to maintain bases in the former Soviet Central Asian states of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

“No one with common sense can expect to cooperate with Russia in one part of the world while acting against it in another,” he said.

His remarks are likely to alarm Nato commanders because the Taleban have been targeting the supply routes of the alliance this year, mimicking tactics used against the British in 1841 and the Soviet Union two decades ago. Nato imports about 70 per cent of its food, fuel, water and equipment from Pakistan via the Khyber Pass, and flies in much of the rest through Russian airspace via bases in Central Asia. It has not started using the “northern corridor” because the deal – covering nonmilitary supplies and nonlethal military equipment – has yet to be cleared with the Central Asian states involved.

The need for an alternative route was highlighted by recent attacks on Nato supply convoys, including one that destroyed 36 fuel tankers in a northwestern Pakistani border town in March. Four US helicopter engines worth $13 million (£7 million) went missing on the way from Kabul to Pakistan in April. Last week militants killed ten French soldiers on the same route 30 miles from Kabul.

Western officials fear that such attacks could increase in the power vacuum in Pakistan created by the resignation of Pervez Musharraf as President last week and the collapse of the coalition Government yesterday.

Vladimir Putin, Russia’s President-turned-Prime-Minister, was the first foreign leader to telephone President Bush after the attacks on September 11, 2001, and has supported the War on Terror ever since. The Kremlin has fears about the spread of Islamic extremism into Central Asia and Muslim regions of Russia, especially Chechnya, where it fought two wars with Muslim rebels in the 1990s.

However, many Russian officials have bitter memories of the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan and strong reservations about the US presence in Central Asia, which they see as their strategic backyard.

“It’s not in Russia’s interests for Nato to be defeated and leave behind all these problems,” Mr Kabulov, who worked at the Soviet Embassy in Kabul from 1983 to 1987, said. “We’d prefer Nato to complete its job and then leave this unnatural geography.

“But at the same time, we’ll be the last ones to moan about Nato’s departure.”

A Nato spokesman declined to respond to Mr Kabulov’s comments and said that Russia had not informed the alliance officially of any decision to annul the northern corridor agreement.




Offline gun runner

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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2008, 21:06:03 »
Ok ... so if the 'stans are autonomous nations, why can't NATO build or assist in the build of a proper rail system to aid in this distrbution problem? Does Russia have that much of a pull on these countries even after the breakup of the USSR? If this is the case, then the airbridge is the only other viable option. I guess. How about the Saudis, can't we use that county to hop supplies to Afghanistan? Deep water ports and all, proper air lift capabilities. Just thoughts. Ubique
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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2008, 00:38:33 »
Germany annouced that they plan to extend a rail link further into Afghanistan to help with supplies.

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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2008, 08:43:19 »
Ok ... so if the 'stans are autonomous nations, why can't NATO build or assist in the build of a proper rail system to aid in this distrbution problem? Does Russia have that much of a pull on these countries even after the breakup of the USSR? If this is the case, then the airbridge is the only other viable option. I guess. How about the Saudis, can't we use that county to hop supplies to Afghanistan? Deep water ports and all, proper air lift capabilities. Just thoughts. Ubique

gun runner

I think, by your comments, you ought to be paying a bit more attention to the news. 

On this post, in this topic, alone, you are asking questions that are right out of the blue.  The Russians and Iranians have fairly tight control of the territories to the North of Afghanistan.  Afghanistan has no access to the sea.  Pakistan does, and is also the closest nation, with the easiest access to Afghanistan.  Saudi Arabia is a fair distance from Afghanistan, and along with other countries in that Region, has been a location for NATO to move supplies by air.  The Germans are proposing the extention of a Rail link into Afghanistan from the North, but this will require cooperation, not only form Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, but the Russians, as in all likelihood supplies will still have to be flown in or transported by rail through Russian controlled airspace or territories.
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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2008, 10:40:11 »
Thanks for the heads up GEORGE, I am not that savvy on the central asian situation, or political affiliations. I humbly stand corrected. Ubique
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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2008, 10:49:13 »
Afghanistan poses quite a Logistical problem for NATO.  It is surrounded by nations that are not particularly friendly to NATO, nor the 'West'.  Russia still exerts a lot of influence to the North. Iran and China are also exerting influences from East and West, and the situation in Pakistan can't really be considered 'stable'.  There are strong possibilities that the whole Region may flare up and necessitate Western powers to become more actively engaged in assisting NATO countries.  Could it be the setting for WW III should Pakistan require the intervention of outside Forces? 
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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2008, 22:16:22 »
So is that the point that we turn the whole region into a self lit glass parking lot? Sure sounds like it. Ubique
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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2008, 12:23:59 »
Pakistan's "threat" as a conventional power and as a nuclear power is contained by India, they know that Pakistan will not survive a nuke war, but India would. Pakistan is a possible threat through it's proxy's and through it's hold on the supply line. I also suspect that Pakistan will be wracked by internal problems that will force it to deal with long standing issues regarding the status of the FATA,NWF and other Tribal areas.

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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2008, 13:12:53 »
Pakistan's "threat" as a conventional power and as a nuclear power is contained by India, they know that Pakistan will not survive a nuke war, but India would. Pakistan is a possible threat through it's proxy's and through it's hold on the supply line. I also suspect that Pakistan will be wracked by internal problems that will force it to deal with long standing issues regarding the status of the FATA,NWF and other Tribal areas.

That being said, and the imagery of a Pakistan in inner turmoil, we may see valuable Troops committed to the protection of NATO supply routes within Pakistan to include the Security of its Ports.  If Pakistan looses all control of its population, will that permit NATO and UN Forces to enter the country against the possible wishes of the Pakistan government, or will that Government turn around and ask for those troops?
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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2008, 13:48:01 »
The problem I see for Pakistan is that it’s really 4 different countries barely held together. Balochistan in the south has been somewhat pacified for now. Punjab is the breadbasket of the country and is closer to India in thinking (aside from religion), there is theSindh in the South which is the economic centre of the country (30% tax revenue. Then there is the tribal areas, NWF, FATA, Other than Punjab the rest don’t seem to have much in common with the hard core Taliban and if the Taliban (and friends) continue bombing the rest of Pakistan, any sympathy will melt fairly quickly. As noted in other countries when the Jihadist target Muslim civilians the population turns on them fairly quickly. I hope that the rest of Pakistan tires of the antics of the tribal areas and forces changes or threatens to cut them loose. 

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Re: Thoughts on a secondary supply route to Afghanistan
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2008, 18:26:28 »
Withdraw logistic support to US troops, Imran urges

PAN Monitor - Sep 15, 2008 - 12:50

KABUL (PAN): Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician has called for a stop to logistic support to US-led coalition and NATO troops stationed in Afghanistan if they continue with border violations and killing of civilians.

Pakistani people were being killed to appease foreign masters, Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan said, alleging that residents of tribal areas and Swat were being massacred in compliance with the dictates of the United States.

He told a news conference in Peshawar on Sunday: The best way to compel the allied forces to halt border violations in the so-called hot pursuit of al-Qaeda and Taliban is to stop logistic support.

In order to ensure Pakistan's sovereignty and integrity, the outspoken former cricket star urged the government of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) to abandon the policy of ex-president Pervez Musharraf.

He remarked: The rulers have owned a war that is being fought for others interests. Own people are being killed to appease the foreign masters. The tribesmen in FATA and Swat are being killed on the directives of the US and its allies.

Attacks on the army and other law-enforcement agencies were a direct reaction to the killing of innocent tribesmen. He was quoted as saying by The News that the blood of Pakhtuns was being shed under a conspiracy hatched by the Americans.

PAN Monitor/mud
http://www.pajhwak.com/viewstory.asp?lng=eng&id=62046


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More than 160 US, NATO vehicles burned in Pakistan
« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2008, 09:34:03 »
This weak link in the supply chain is starting to get expensive.  The sooner they can remedy the route the better.

http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/12/07/pakistan.html

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Re: More than 160 US, NATO vehicles burned in Pakistan
« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2008, 09:49:49 »
 >:D

Perhaps a little incentive should be given to the Pakistanis responsible for security of these vehicles.  Perhaps the cost of replacement vehicles being deducted from their meagre pay would help.  With any job comes responsibility.  These people would fight to the death to protect something which is theirs.  Wages paid by NATO, the US, and other nations are just easy money for these people, for which they don't feel they need to do any work, nor have any responsibility for.  If on the other hand, it was a job that relied on their "Honour" then things may be a bit different.
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Re: More than 160 US, NATO vehicles burned in Pakistan
« Reply #24 on: December 07, 2008, 09:58:15 »
I hear you on that  way back when in 94 i was working with a malyasian batttalion MALBAT.  and when speaking to a 12 yr vet of their army . he was b@@@ing about how the country collected all the UN pay and continued to pay them reg wages  with no incentives for being in the hot of it .  So imposing the idea that NATO / co-allation countries are paying for the base. Why doesnt the host country do something to actully protect their investment ....or are they actully in cahoots with them  >:D   
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