NATO discovers supply route to Afghanistan through Russia
ISLAMABAD, June 12 (Saba) — In a critical development to keep shipments for the International Security Assistance Force ( IASF) troops to landlocked Afghanistan, safe from frequent ambushes by militants in Pakistan, NATO announced opening a new logistic route from Russia and Central Asia, local media reported Saturday, according to Xinhua.
"We will take advantage of all transport routes available as soon as possible," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was quoted as saying by the local newspaper Daily Times.
Rasmussen made the remarks in the backdrop of two most recent incidents of terrorist ambush on NATO supply convoys on Tuesday midnight near Pakistani capital Islamabad, which destroyed around 60 containers trucks and killed eight Pakistani citizen.
In another incident on Thursday evening, some militants set a NATO truck on fire in Khuzdar in the southwest Balochistan province.
The supplies, including food, fuel, medicines and weapons to over 140,000 multinational troops fighting insurgent militants since the ouster of Taliban regime in 2001, are shipped in convoys from Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi to the Pakistan- Afghanistan border at Torkhum.
The over-1,000-mile route is the shortest land route for Americans for logistics.
Over 70 percent of the NATO’s supplies to Afghanistan and 40 percent of its fuel needs are sent through Pakistan. However, the increasing attacks have compelled the alliance to consider other routes in the Central Asia.
The U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates did mention the northern routes in the past. But according to defense analysts the route through Georgia is not feasible as part of the U.S. military ‘s Psy-Ops-Strategy.
Russian offer to the U.S of a supply route to Afghanistan was given two years ago.
The other two possible routes include Iran and a bumpy mountainous trail from China through the Wakhan into Afghanistan, which might not be very practical.
The U.S. cannot give up dependency on the Pakistani route, said a Pakistani analyst.