Friday, December 16, 2011

US Military’s Troubled Routes towards Afghanistan

With the decision of Pakistan to shut down Nato supply routes going through its territory in the wake of attack on its military check posts which killed 26 Pakistani Soldiers, US military is seeking to pump up its supplies through the only remaining overland route to Afghanistan which is through Central Asia.

Nato and US military is now preparing to shift more traffic along the roads, rail and air routes that run between the Baltic Sea and Afghanistan via the Caucasus and Central Asia - the so-called Northern Distribution Network. 

Although these routes have been crucial in supplying coalition soldiers in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001. But in recent months, as Washington's relationship with Pakistan has deteriorated, there has been a steady increase not just of cargo but also diplomatic traffic to secure the support of Central Asian leaders . But the way through the post-Soviet States is fraught with difficulty and controversy. 

The newly elected leader of Kyrgyzstan, Mr Almazbek Atambayev says he wants to shut down Manas air base just outside the capital Bishkek because he sees it as a threat to Kyrgyz security. 

"What if America goes to war with Iran and next thing we know Tehran will be bombing Manas," he said in a BBC interview shortly after his election in October. 

Mr Atambayev said his decision not to extend the lease when it runs out in 2014 was non-negotiable, and that the US should respect the agreements it signed. 

Although the US has played down similar statements from Mr Atambayev's predecessors in past, saying there were alternatives for a similar base elsewhere.

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