Entries in Supplies (4)


Signs Point to Reopening of Supply Routes in Pakistan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ISLAMABAD) -- There may have finally been a breakthrough in the long stalemate between Islamabad and the U.S. over NATO supply routes in Pakistan that have been shut down since last November.

Islamabad closed the key supply routes used to bring artillery to coalition forces in Afghanistan after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in NATO air raids that the U.S. maintains were the result of miscommunication on both sides.  Pakistan contends that NATO was completely at fault, demanding an apology from the White House.

However, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told reporters on Monday that her country is now moving toward reopening the supply routes, explaining, "Pakistan has made a point and now we can move on."

While Khar presented no timetable for when that might happen, it was apparent that talks Gen. John Allen, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, held with Pakistani army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani last weekend produced positive results.

Not only would reopening Pakistan's borders into Afghanistan lower costs of shipping food and equipment, access to the supply routes means the U.S. and NATO can facilitate the withdrawal of goods worth an estimated $30 billion ahead of the scheduled military pullout from Afghanistan in 2014.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NATO Supplies to Afghanistan Keep Flowing, But at a Price

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- It’s been almost two months since Pakistan closed the two key border crossings into Afghanistan used to supply NATO troops in Afghanistan, and though alternate routes have kept the supplies flowing, the financial cost has been substantial.

A Pentagon official says the cost of moving supplies into Afghanistan is now $104 million a month.  That’s $87 million more than the $17 million it used to cost to transport supplies when the border crossings were open.

The cost estimate includes the added costs of the combined ground and air movements being used to offset the closed border crossings.

The 512 percent increase in monthly costs resulted from Pakistan’s shut down of the border crossings at Torkham and Chaman shortly after a NATO airstrike in late November mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani soldiers serving at a remote border outpost.  The Pakistani government closed the crossings to show their displeasure with the U.S. and NATO in the wake of the deadly attack.

Pentagon officials have said that the closure of the border crossings has not impacted NATO’s military operations inside Afghanistan.  But rerouting those supplies has proven costly.

Though the overland routes through Pakistan were a crucial entry way for fuel supplies, in recent years, U.S. military planners had expanded another ground supply route known as the Northern Distribution Network (NDN).

Coursing its way through Russia and the former Soviet republics that border Afghanistan, the seven supply routes that form the NDN were already the main entry point for non-lethal supplies for NATO in Afghanistan.

When Pakistan closed the border crossings, only 30 percent of NATO supplies flowed through them, most of it fuel.

A Defense official says most of the added costs come from the diversion of supplies originally intended to go through Pakistan that now arrive by ship in other countries in the region for eventual air transport into Afghanistan.

Additional costs come from the transportation of more materials through the NDN, and the even pricier cost of flowing in supplies on direct flights from the U.S. or Europe into Afghanistan.

Pakistan has not indicated that it will reopen the border crossings any time soon, which could mean that using the costly alternate routes will be the only options for the foreseeable future.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ambassador: More Aid Arriving in Japan; US Agrees with Plant Response

Japan [dot] USEmbassy [dot] gov(TOKYO) -- The U.S. ambassador to Japan, John V. Roos, held a press conference Wednesday at the U.S. embassy in Tokyo to address the current nuclear situation there and what the U.S. is doing to help.

In addition to the American engineers, specialists, and experts already at the unstable Fukushima nuclear power plant, Roos said the U.S. added an additional seven experts from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission who arrived in Japan Wednesday.

Roos added that the U.S. also supplied Japan with aerial and ground radiation monitoring equipment, including detectors, data acquisition systems, and health physics kits.  The equipment arrived Tuesday night, along with 34 personnel with "expertise in health physics and airborne and ground-based radiation field monitoring."

On the aid front, Roos noted the U.S. military has delivered over 7,000 pounds of food and water to the areas hit by the 9.0 magnitude quake and tsunami and that more goods are on their way.

"Nine ships are assisting in the relief operations, and helicopters and other aircraft have now flown over 50 missions to conduct survivor recoveries, transport passengers, and distribute food and water supplies in the most needy areas," said Roos.

Moreover, Roos said that "more than $5.8 million of United States aid has come to Japan so far and more is on the way."

Addressing the radiation levels at the Fukushima plant, Roos said that U.S. experts are in agreement with the assessments made by the Japanese government.

"After a careful analysis of data, radiation levels, and damage assessments of all units at Fukushima, our experts are in agreement with the response and measures taken by Japanese technicians, including their recommended 20 km radius for evacuation and additional shelter-in-place recommendations out to 30 km," he said in a separate statement issued the same day as the conference.

In that statement, Roos also noted that U.S. and Japanese sensitive instrumentation reported very low levels of radiation outside the evacuation area and that it is being carefully monitored.  Should the levels pose a threat to public health, he added that "we will share that information and provide relevant guidance immediately."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Water, Food and Gas Becoming Scarce in Japan

MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- The earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan Friday has left survivors scrambling for basic necessities like food and water as they prepare to brace for the long-term effects from the natural disasters, which will last for some time.

According to ABC News reporters in Japan, the top three commodities in demand there are water, food, and gas.  People have been seen in long lines outside of gas stations and convenience stores with the hopes of snatching up these goods.  Some have even waited two to three hours with empty water jugs in hand, hoping to fill them up.

But these commodities are becoming scarce.  Some gas stations have run dry, posting "sold out" signs on their establishments.

Meanwhile, aid and rescue teams from around the world are arriving in Japan to assist in finding survivors and provide them with food and sorely needed supplies.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio