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Dec-02-2011 02:51printcomments

Will the U.S. Appease Iran for Afghanistan Supply Routes?

American military leaders have shot themselves in the foot a few times in history, but this...

Image Credit: Illustration: Nino Jose Heredia/Gulf News
Image Credit: Illustration: Nino Jose Heredia/Gulf News

(SALEM) - The sudden realization that the United States might need to utilize supply routes through Iran to continue its war in Afghanistan, is an absolute buzz kill for the rooting sections of pro-war Americans who back Israel's religious apartheid government in cries for war and the spillage of blood in Iran.

There are few concessions for sloppy combat work and the recent U.S. attack on two Pakistan military outposts could seriously refocus the priorities of a country that has been pounding away on an increasingly intolerant Afghan populace in a war that is becoming exponentially unpopular.

An article carried earlier by Salem-News.com, Dr. William Hathaway' 'Comparing Evils', contains an interview with the exiled Afghan Journalist Jamal Khan in Germany.

The Khyber Pass located near Peshawar, Pakistan.
Wikipedia photo by: Dr Mansoor Bokhary

His battles to survive in Afghanistan were myriad, but the brass tacks are not something you would like to accidentally step on in this case.

The Taliban are bad guys, no doubt about it. I'm not fond of them at all. They killed hundreds of people, including friends of mine. They would've killed me if I had stayed.

But the USA has killed fifty thousand Afghans just in this current war ... and more every day. They're devastating the country. They make the Taliban look like boy scouts.

Before the U.S. war and the Taliban war and the Russian war, Khyber Pass was widely known to thousands of people from the west and Asia who traveled it in the days of the Hippie trail. "Meet you in Kandahar" was a saying that hasn't been heard in many years, the place was a real destination in the old days for world travelers.

Energy Experts Weigh in

So, what does this mean for logistical support of ISAF forces? According to Nesar Ahmad Nasery, the deputy head of Torkham Customs, around 1,000 trucks cross into Afghanistan on a daily basis, nearly 300 of which are NATO contractors carrying NATO supplies in sealed containers. Khyber Transport Association chief Shakir Afridi said that each oil tanker has a capacity of 13,000-15,000 gallons. In October 2010 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen said that fossil fuels are the number one import to Afghanistan.

Noting the obvious, as Afghanistan has no indigenous hydrocarbon supplies, every drop must be brought in, with transit greatly increasing the eventual cost. For 2001-2008, almost all U.S. and NATO supplies were trucked overland to Afghanistan through parts of Pakistan effectively controlled by the Taliban.

Ground supplies are shipped into Pakistan’s Arabian Sea Karachi port and offloaded onto trucks before being sent to one of five crossing points on the Afghan border, the most important being Torkham at the Khyber Pass and Baluchistan’s Chaman. The recent attack has put all these routes at risk, perhaps permanently. Pakistan, being the shortest and most economical route, has been used for nearly a decade to transit almost 75 percent of the ammunition, vehicles, foodstuff and around 50 percent of fuel for coalition forces fighting in Afghanistan. - Furious at Latest U.S. Attack, Pakistan Shuts Down Resupply Routes to Afghanistan "Permanently" by John Daly

Pesh Habor

During the current war in Afghanistan, the Khyber Pass has been a major route for resupplying NATO forces in the Afghan theater of conflict. Depending on which sound bite or statistic you believe, the U.S. war in Afghanistan depends on the Khyber Pass for somewhere between one third and one half of its resupply effort. There are two routes into Afghanistan, one spills out in the south at Kandahar, and the main route winds its way through the Pesh Valley and into Kabul.

Wikipedia states that it is one of the oldest passes in the world. In history, this is the ancient Silk Road referenced in the Bible as the 'Pesh Habor'. With a bloody and triumphant history, this is a route used not just by the U.S. military, but by conquerors including Darius I, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and later invading Mongol tribes.

Another group never far from this road is the Taliban. Comprehending its strategic importance, they tried to cut the route off in late 2008 and early 2009. It seems clear that since Taliban live on both sides of the Pakistan border, that the government will draw less resentment from those who fight the U.S. as Pakistan is officially no longer aiding the war effort against them.

In February 2009, militants never confirmed to be Taliban, were able to successfully blow up a bridge located 15 miles northwest of Peshawar. The west said at the time that it was not a major setback, but it was enough to force officials in the west to consider their options if they were unable to keep using Pakistan. Those options are few, which leads back to the Iran question.

Wikipedia's page on Khyber Pass explains that the general consensus at this point in time, is that the new supply route will pass through various central Asian republics to the north of Afghanistan.

Time Magazine's new Battleland Blogs article, Afghan Dunkirk: Exiting Afghanistan UK-Style ... or ... How the Military - Industrial - Congressional Complex (MICC) Will Win By Losing, outlines other potential routes possibly going through ports in the Black Sea like Batumi in Georgia, Novorossiysk or Sochi in southern Russia, or even Odessa in the Ukraine.

But the absolutely riveting part takes us back to where the article begins, that is with respect to Iran; the forever demonized country that defiantly fails to cater to Israel's demands, and while the 'attack on Iran' scenario seems to continually loom closer, it may have just hit a real stumbling point.

The Time Battleland Blogs article states:

A more remote option would be to repair relations with the mullahs of Iran and exit overland, westward thru transshipment ports in that country; but that unlikely option would require, at a minimum, we kiss and make up with the Iranians, lift sanctions, and tell our so-called allies, the Israelis, to shut up and stop threatening to bomb Iran.

For those who aren't familiar with the location of the various countries, this map explains why Iran would be a logical
route and probably far less costly to the U.S. taxpayer, than alternate routes through Russia.

Death in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan flag

Those thinking this Pakistan problem will be easy to overcome, might want to re familiarize themselves with a frigid Asian country called Kyrgyzstan that was great friends with the U.S. when the Bush administration was pouring U.S. tax dollars into their economy through a funnel. When I returned from covering the war in Afghanistan in early 2007, I spent several days in this former Soviet country, noting a tension that didn't exist at the U.S. bases in the war.

In a February 2009 Salem-News.com article by Justin Raimondo, it was revealed that the reason Kyrgyzstan gave the U.S.A. the boot is the same exact reason that Pakistan tossed the Americans out of its country- for killing that nation's military.

Raimondo noted how western news reporters were attempting to lead Americans to the conclusion that an aid pact with the Russian government guaranteeing $2 billion, was the reason the country forced the U.S. government out. While officials from the United States and with NATO openly accused the Russians of interfering, the real reasons for the base closure are only mentioned in passing, if at all: the 2006 killing of a Kyrgyz citizen by a U.S. soldier, one of 1,500 stationed in and around the air base. It happened shortly before I arrived in Kyrgyzstan, explaining perhaps that tension in the air that was so thick. Raimondo wrote in Kyrgyzstan's Revenge:

U.S. airmen on guard at the Manas Air Base outside of Bishkek
(file photo) (ITAR-TASS) Courtesy: Radio Free Europe

The soldier, Zachary Hatfield, shot and killed Alexander Ivanov, a 42-year-old truck driver and father of two sons, at a checkpoint where Ivanov was in the process of delivering fuel to Mans. Ivanov had supposedly threatened Hatfield with a knife.

A USA Today report includes this testimony from Ivanov's son and other truck drivers:

American soldiers behaved insolently and unceremoniously and I want only one thing: that the guilty man be punished.

Ivanov's colleagues accused the U.S. servicemen of behaving disrespectfully towards local workers and being boorish, pushing them into the security tent with gun butts. The Americans were not even interested in paying their way out of it, offering a humiliating sum of $1,000 to the widow of Alexander Ivanov.

The price is high when a country is at war and placing its most critical duties in the hands of extremely young soldiers, often under 20, who are not mature to the point that their conscience allows them to comprehend the devastation their actions potentially cause. Kyrgyzstan and now Pakistan, have been lost as national allies because of U.S. Army soldiers, many poorly educated and from regions of the U.S. where racism and country music are prevalent, killing their citizens.

Dwindling Options

The military forces of the United States and the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) are heavily impacted by Pakistan's closure of the main supply route. Everything from fuel to food; all material that supports the war effort; a large part of what military operations rely upon, is absolutely stopped at this point.

An American soldier looks toward an ISAF truck in Afghanistan.
Salem-News.com photo by Tim King

Notable U.S. politicians and other leaders have called for an end to the war in Afghanistan. In fact they have increasingly been suggesting and demanding this well before this current debacle that at minimum, is for the U.S. a strategic nightmare. The U.S. is going to pay far, far more than ever to transport people and supplies into Afghanistan. There is an old saying; that it is a lot easier to get to Afghanistan, than it is to get home.

In the oilprices.com article, John Daly mentions how the closure means that a daily flow of roughly 100 fuel tanker trucks, along with 200 other trucks loaded with NATO supplies, crossing into Afghanistan each day from Pakistan, is a thing of the past. The closure of Khyber Pass and the border with historic Afghanistan:

...has ominous long-term consequences for the logistical resupply of ISAF forces, even as Pentagon officials downplay the issue and scramble for alternative resupply routes.

Maybe the shoot now - ask questions later mentality, wasn't such a good approach after all. It has been said, 'Let God sort 'em out' and perhaps that is exactly what is taking place, with the shoe on the other foot.

References:

_________________________________________________________
Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim is a former U.S. Marine.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.

Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 91 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Daniel December 2, 2011 6:21 pm (Pacific time)

To clarify 1031 was passed then an amendment was put in today so that it does not change current laws for detention . The stronger amendment to prohibit the detention was defeated 55 to 45 mostly along party lines with the Demos mostly supporting the amendment . The President has said a number of times he opposes the detention section of the bill and will veto it . The President has been a disappointment caving into the extreme right wing of the republican party and conservative Democrats . His opposition tho is far more repressive , a sad day in America ! I remember some clown last year talking about if the Congress changed hands unemployment would be cut in half in a years time . Was that you Anonymous 12:09 ? I stated it would just become more stagnant ! Who was correct ?


Daniel December 2, 2011 5:32 pm (Pacific time)

Actually anon 11:09 the legislation you refer to was defeated by the Senate today . The President also promised he would veto it if it passed . You say you said this and that years ago , so who are you ??? How can I laugh at someone who is Anonymous ? You are amazing , you hide behind Anonymous and then state you have said something of supposed importance ! How can we tell it was you , nameless wonder ? You are so full of incorrect information I see why you stay anonymous .


Anonymous December 2, 2011 12:09 pm (Pacific time)

well, congress and the obama admin have passed legislation to kill, detain forever, American citizens, whatever they want, with no due process, no attorneys, no constitution, no nothing..obama want you dead? or in a torture camp? He can put you there because he had a bad day. I wonder what the mainstream media would say if countries like Iran approved this legislation.. This country has been taken over, just as I told ya many years ago..thanks for laughing at me daniel and tim..appreciate it..I was right yet again. And how ironic is THIS? While the Euro nation is collapsing and causing riots, the obama admin, along with canada and mexico, just signed in stone the north american union...I told ya this was coming many many years ago...while you sleep.


Ron Adams December 2, 2011 9:30 am (Pacific time)

Considering who influences congress, the focus on Iran as an enemy of America will continue.


Anonymous December 2, 2011 9:15 am (Pacific time)

Sure the President will appease Iran. He appease everyone after he apologize to the whole world. Everyone knows the President hates this Country and what it stands for. He does everything to destroy this Country. So why not, appease the whole darn world.


Anonymous December 2, 2011 6:09 am (Pacific time)

Will they stop now? Will they stop threatening to blow Iran from the face of t he earth? Is any of this possible? It had always seemed like the yanks had it in for the country but then we all know where the inspiration comes from.  Thanks for being on top of this,just goes to show that we never know what direction life can turn in.


Matt Johnson December 2, 2011 5:42 am (Pacific time)

No way! That is a crack up, and if they have to, watch the govt change its position toward Iran overnight, it'll happen if they deem that it has to happen, and after all the chest-pounding, calling for violence etc this is fitting.

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