Supplying NATO Forces in Afghanistan
I see that more attention is being paid these days to the subject I’ve been talking about for several years now, the difficulties of supplying a large force in Afghanistan:
The U.S. military is laboring to shore up a vulnerable supply chain through Pakistan and Central Asia as it seeks to expand the flow of supplies into Afghanistan by at least 50 percent to support an influx of tens of thousands of troops, according to defense officials and experts.
One new link is now undergoing testing with the first shipment of U.S. military nonlethal cargo through Russia, officials said. That cargo has already crossed into Kazakhstan on its way to Afghanistan, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.
Escalating attacks on supply convoys in Pakistan, the anticipated closure in less than six months of the Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan — the last remaining American air hub in Central Asia — and slow progress in opening up the northern supply route into Afghanistan have added urgency to the effort to strengthen the logistical backup for the troop increase, they said.
“If you ask me what I worry about at night, it is the fact that our supply chain is always under attack,” said Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, commander of the U.S. military’s Transportation Command, in testimony last week that focused on Afghanistan.
The closing of the Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan, our only air base in Central Asia, which is almost certain to occur within the next six months, will prove troubling. A replacement in Uzbekistan has been suggested as has the “northern route” overland through Russia. Those continue to be in the talking stages.
There’s also been some talk of negotiating with Iran for an overland route through that country. Although I’m in favor of negotiating with Iran on a wide range of topics, I think that proposal is far-fetched.
You be the general. Figure out how many soldiers you want to supply in Afghanistan. A reasonable working figure for supply seems to be about 50 kg. per soldier per day (it may be more). How do you supply your force?