No announcement yet.

U.S. and Pakistan's Loss, Uzbekistan's Gain?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • U.S. and Pakistan's Loss, Uzbekistan's Gain?

    U.S. and Pakistan's Loss, Uzbekistan's Gain?
    May 16, 2011 - 10:49am, by Joshua Kucera
    U.S. and Pakistan's Loss, Uzbekistan's Gain? |

    U.S. and Pakistan's Loss, Uzbekistan's Gain?
    U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Peter Mayes
    Hairatan, the Afghanistan border crossing that's the hub of the NDN

    Relations between the U.S. and Pakistan are at the crisis stage as a result of the raid by U.S. forces to kill Osama bin Laden -- and Uzbekistan could benefit. On Saturday, Pakistan's parliament passed a resolution calling for a thorough review of cooperation with the U.S., including of of the transportation of U.S. and NATO materiel through Pakistan to Afghanistan. From the Los Angeles Times:

    The resolution also took aim at the CIA's drone missile campaign in Pakistan's tribal areas, an effort that Pakistan historically has condemned publicly but tacitly approved. "Drone attacks must be stopped forthwith," the resolution warned. Otherwise, the government would "consider taking necessary steps, including withdrawal of transit facility allowed to [NATO and coalition] forces."

    Pakistan plays a vital role in keeping supply lines open for U.S. and Western troops battling Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. About 40% of NATO's non-weapons supplies move by truck from the Pakistani port city of Karachi to two crossings along the Afghan border.

    The rest of NATO's supplies get to Afghanistan via the Northern Distribution Network, through various post-Soviet states. The NDN routes enter the former USSR at a variety of points -- Georgia, Latvia and over the Arctic Circle into Russia, for example. But as they get closer to Afghanistan, almost all is winnowed through a single border crossing, at Termez-Hairatan on the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan border. (A recent U.S. military press service story describes some of the logistical efforts in Hairatan.)

    The proportion of cargo to be shipped to Afghanistan via the NDN is scheduled to rise to 75 percent by the end of the year. But could Pakistan make that 100 percent, in a hurry? It seems unlikely. For one thing, Pakistan's parliament has no sway over the security services, a point that was made in the excellent analysis of U.S. military aid to Pakistan in last week's New Yorker. And anyway, cooler heads may prevail. An editorial in Pakistan's Daily Times asks some obvious issues:

    [T]he consensus resolution of parliament notwithstanding, has any one of our honourable elected members bothered to inform what would happen if we cut off the logistics of the Americans and NATO for Afghanistan? What impact would it have for US aid, already under threat from the run of opinion in the US Congress? How would a cash-strapped Pakistan compensate for that lost aid? If it could not, what would be the effect on the country, the people and even the armed forces? It is all very well to be carried away by emotion and assert national pride, but our elected representatives are expected to examine all the implications of any suggestion they put forward on strategic policies.

    Still, resolutions like this can't make Pentagon planners feel very confident in Pakistan, and will certainly reinforce the need to rely even more heavily on the NDN and Uzbekistan. That, of course, would render the Afghanistan war effort ever more dependent on the U.S.'s relationship with Uzbekistan. And that would be an entirely new strategic can of worms.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  • #2
    Originally posted by troung View Post
    The proportion of cargo to be shipped to Afghanistan via the NDN is scheduled to rise to 75 percent by the end of the year.
    Bet the pakistanis must now be p-ssed at inciting some of the tribes in FATA against the IMU bases there a few years ago. Altho i still wouldnt be surprised of a 'miraculous' come-back by the IMU in northern Afghanistan and possibly Uzbekistan too. But in all seriousness, its about time more use was made of the NDN. Afghanistan is much better served by being drawn towards those of its neighbours which have no 'regional ambitions' or complexes over having 'strategic depth' in foreign countries. The less reliant the US is on Pakistan as a transit-route the faster Pakistan's irrelevence to Afghanistan becomes and the sooner Pakistan can sink into obscurity where it belongs.