The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019

U.S. Halts Shipments From Afghanistan Through Pakistan

@AFP

Washington (AFP) – The U.S. military suspended shipments of equipment out of Afghanistan through Pakistan, citing protests that posed a risk to truck drivers, officials said.

The move came after club-wielding activists in northwest Pakistan forcibly searched trucks for NATO supplies in protest over U.S. drone strikes in the tribal belt.

“We have voluntarily halted U.S. shipments of retrograde cargo through the Pakistan Ground Line of Communication (GLOCC) from Torkham Gate through Karachi,” said Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright in a statement.

Wright was referring to the main overland route used by the Americans and NATO to withdraw military hardware from Afghanistan, as part of a troop pullout set to wrap up by the end of 2014.

The delay in removing the equipment is just the latest hitch in a deeply troubled relationship between Pakistan and the United States.

Relations have been particularly fraught since CIA drone missile attacks in Pakistan which have raised tensions with Islamabad and sparked public outrage.

US officials said trucks have been told to wait for now in holding areas in Afghanistan.

“We anticipate that we will be able to resume our shipments through this route in the near future,” Wright said.

A defense official said Washington believed the Islamabad government fully supported the use of the route and that it would soon restore security to the area.

“The companies that we contract with were getting nervous. And it’s getting a little too dangerous for the truck drivers,” the defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

The United States has alternative routes available to the north through Central Asia, though those options take longer and are more expensive.

“While we favor shipping cargo via Pakistan because of cost, we have built flexibility and redundancy into our overall system of air, sea and ground routes to transport cargo into and out of Afghanistan,” Wright said.

The U.S. and Pakistani governments recently issued a joint statement saying the road route through Pakistan was considered important to both Washington and Islamabad, as well as the NATO alliance, he added.

About half of U.S. cargo is being taken out through the Pakistan route via the Torkham crossing, with the remainder being removed by aircraft or a combination of planes and then ships at regional ports.

NATO cargo shipments across Pakistan have been disrupted in the past due to political strains.

Islamabad shut its border to coalition trucks for more than seven months after a U.S. helicopter accidentally killed 24 Pakistani troops.

The border reopened to supply trucks in July 2012 after Washington issued an apology.

As of September, the Pentagon said it had to send home 24,000 vehicles and 20,000 shipping containers of equipment after more than 12 years of war.

The Pentagon flies out weapons and other sensitive gear.

The whole withdrawal will cost an estimated $7 billion, according to Pentagon officials.

U.S. officials say the drone strikes by unmanned aircraft have taken out dangerous Al-Qaeda militants.

While Pakistani officials publicly criticize the bombing campaign, the government is believed to have tacitly backed at least some of the strikes over the years.

Civilian deaths from America’s covert drone operation have also proved contentious in Afghanistan, where President Hamid Karzai has demanded an end to civilian casualties before he agrees to sign a proposed 10-year security agreement with the United States.

AFP Photo/Banaras Khan

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

This is the first of what is sure to be way too many campaign columns to come. If you’d like them to land in your email inbox every time I write one, please buy a subscription.

Keep reading...Show less

Tape of home invasion attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul Pelosi

Youtube Screenshot

Video released Friday of the harrowing home invasion and assault that nearly killed then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband in October brought little in the way of self-reflection or regret from far-right Internet trolls and Fox News stars who spent months baselessly insisting that the attack had actually resulted from a gay tryst gone wrong. Instead, the denizens of the right-wing conspiracy theory ecosystem either claimed that the new evidence proved that they were right all along, or used it to float additional conspiracy theories about why it hadn’t been released earlier.

The key facts were available within hours of the October 28, 2022, attack. Law enforcement swiftly alleged that David DePape broke into the Democratic leader’s home in the middle of the night seeking to harm her and pummeled her 82-year-old husband Paul, sending him to the hospital for emergency surgery. Journalists who reviewed DePape’s Internet history subsequently revealed that he had been radicalized online and espoused a wide array of right-wing conspiracy theories, including QAnon.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}