Entries in Supply Route (3)


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


Pakistan Reopens Key Supply Route

Photo Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images(ISLAMABAD) -- Supply convoys for NATO forces in Afghanistan can again use a key Pakistani border crossing.

The country on Saturday reopened the checkpoint more than a week after a NATO airstrike killed two Pakistani soldiers.

The reopening of the Torkham checkpoint comes earlier than the U.S. had expected.

Thousands of trucks are backed up at the crossing and throughout the country, leaving many vulnerable to attack.

More than 100 vehicles were torched during the closure.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio