Afghan supply routes face setbacks in Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan

February 3, 2009

U.S. efforts to improve supplies for its troops in Afghanistan just had a double setback after militants in northwest Pakistan severed the main supply route for western forces and Kyrgyzstan’s president said the United States must close its military base there.

Militants blew up a bridge on the Khyber Pass, cutting the supply route to western forces in Afghanistan and underscoring the need for the United States to seek alternative supply lines. The U.S. military sends 75 percent of supplies for the Afghan war through Pakistan but has been looking at using other transit routes through Central Asia. Although Washington has been sketchy on the details of its plans, its Manas military airbase near the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek has so far provided important logistical support for its operations in Afghanistan.  During a visit to Moscow, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev announced the closure of the base, opened after the 9/11 attacks.  Bakiyev made the announcement after securing a $2 billion loan and a further $150 million in aid from Russia.

So what is going on here? Is Russia taking advantage of U.S. vulnerability in Afghanistan to flex its muscles in Central Asia? Or responding to a perceived threat of U.S. expansionism in the region?

Former Indian diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar has suggested that the United States can win Moscow’s support in Afghanistan only if it dispels suspicions that it has exploited its post 9/11 operations there as an excuse to build its presence in Central Asia as part of a containment strategy targeting not just Russia but also Iran and China.  That may sound a little bit like Cold War thinking, harking back to those simpler days when containment was one of the buzzwords of superpower rivalry. These days the scramble for Central Asia seems to be more about the competition for resources — especially oil and gas – as discussed in this post. But he does make a lot of interesting points, particularly if you remember the Soviet Union’s own justification for its disastrous invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, which was partly to stop the United States from setting up bases there following the Iranian Islamic revolution.In an article for Eurasia, Stephen Blank, a professor at the U.S. Army War College, took a different view of U.S. motives, but reached the same conclusion: the United States will have to make concessions to win Russia’s cooperation on Afghanistan. 

“Russia has the capability to exact a steep price for its cooperation, and it seems fairly certain that the Kremlin will strive to do just that,” he wrote. “One area in which it will likely try to exact that price is in the Caucasus and Black Sea regions, specifically in seeking NATO assurances that Georgia and Ukraine will not be offered membership in the alliance for the foreseeable future, if ever. It is a mark of the strategic malpractice of past U.S. policymakers in Central Asia and Afghanistan that Moscow now finds itself in position to potentially dictate conditions for participation in an endeavor that is clearly in Russia’s best interests.”

There are still lots of stray threads in this struggle for influence in Central Asia. Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon just reversed an earlier decision to cancel a trip to Moscow, in what was seen as an attempt to put pressure on Russia to increase financial support for Tajikistan. Meanwhile the United States is quietly rebuilding ties with Uzbekistan, despite its human rights record, according to this article in the Christian Science Monitor. Uzbekistan evicted the U.S. military in 2005 after Washington and other Western governments called for an inquiry into the reported massacre of hundreds of civilians during a protest in the city of Andizhan.

And if you don’t want to go through Central Asia, NATO says it would not oppose member nations making deals with Iran to use it as a transit route to supply their forces in Afghanistan, according to this AP story. That would probably require compromises of its own, not least over Iran’s nuclear programme. The alternative, of course, is to keep relying on Pakistan as the easiest entry point into Afghanistan – bringing us full circle back to the early days post 9/11 when the Bush administration turned to Islamabad for help in overturning the Taliban.

Can, or will, the new administration of President Barack Obama chart a different course?

 

 

 

 

Comments

@Anup

What American propaganda do you speak of?

Posted by Qasim | Report as abusive
 

Quasim,
See,Indians,Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are liars when it comes to framing history or speaking about politics. People like Zaid Hamid and Raj Thackerey talk without citing sources and have the talent of making the whole world believe them,like they are prophets. The sources we can trust can be only from journalists. There are many people like you who would like to malign India. You only quote your word,at most some line from some source and no proof. This also happens in wikipedia,there is a topic called ‘STATE SPONSORED TERRORISM’ which was seriously vandalised by Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. They added a big story-while Iran’s is only a line- with a lot of typos,grammar mistakes,forget them,but without any citations. That Paragraph on India exist still today with some us only having corrected the typos and Grammatical errors,still those fellows like you in the user talk cannot submit proper proofs,the editors have given them a few month’s time. Of course you can file a proof from Dawn,times of India,but anyone having some conscience ,can they quote Zaid Hamid? The fellows there are showing brass tracks as an evidence! See accusing Indians of Baluchistan is just a garbage from your hate mongers. Your Government said you won the war in 1965,a lot of your people believed in that. They say they were winning the Kargil war until the day of your retreat. You people are full of hate,lies,delusion and abuses,the same whether in Youtube or blogs or anything. You say India sponsors terrorism and arrest an innocent tourist only to discover Taliban is claiming for the proud bomb blast. You all talk about kashmir,but why liberate it and make it a Swat? Suppression in the hands of the Indians are far better than oppression in the hands of the Pashtoon Muslims,isn’t it? If Indians leave,Taliban will come and kill women,just gendercide. These are not facts,still many of them agree,Can I quote this? Someone from BBC says one million Bangladeshis are killed,but that’s a taboo in your country. You will only quote Amnesty International for Kashmir,not Bangladesh. I quote J.K.Rowling when she say the same about loony Lovegood,”She only believe in a thing as long as there is no proof”. Great similarity between Quibbler’s spoof stories and yours.

Posted by mitchell | Report as abusive
 

Qasim

“What American propaganda do you speak of?”

—The shattering of the mirage called Pakistan, shall effect India – BS – ever heard of not feeling grateful after you awake from a nightmare…(just feel a little giddy, that’s all)

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive
 

Qasim, Mitchell, Anup and PK:
MY fee cents.

I am seeing Qasim is trying hard to pull out any information (forget evidence) from internet and all he researched was an article in Sri Lankan Newspaper mentioning few lines about RAW-Baloch connection.

I am also looking at it and I am as frustrated as Qasim is.

Mitchell: Great job with all the articles you have been posting lately.

OF NOTE, the article mentioned as an editorial (???)from Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror newspaper seems like a copy/paste from Pakistani daily (www.daily.pk
Monday, 26 January 2009 03:14). Compare the 2 artcles.

http://www.daily.pk/pakistan/pakistannew s/9231-raw-behind-balochistan-unrest-raw -raw-rocks-the-boat.html

Oh my God, look below at the home page of this Paki daily, it is devoted to anti-India stuff.
http://www.daily.pk/

Qasim, if you knowingly doing this and believing, GOD help you. My knowledge tells me PAK is safe from RAW. YOu’ll learn more with an open mind than proving the non-existent.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Qasim, Mitchell, Anup, PK:
Please ignore if this is repeat post. Message upload problem—Seems ISI hand ?

My few cents.

Qasim: Back to your favorite research project of RAW-Bloch connection. I have tried to look at it and not found much.

Guys even the article posted by Qasim is not originally from Srilanka newspaper, it is a copy/paste from a Pakistani newspaper. I wonder how it could be an editorial!!! Compare the 2 articles.

If it is Dawn, it can still be thought of, here is the original article below:
http://www.daily.pk/pakistan/pakistannew s/9231-raw-behind-balochistan-unrest-raw -raw-rocks-the-boat.html

The home page stinks of a variety of anti-India stuff—the usual Paki propaganda.
http://www.daily.pk/

Qasim, A statement here and there will do no good and will not prove your point.
I suggest be open to new ideas than hell bent upon proving the non-existent

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

test

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Qasim, Mitchell, Anup, PK:

Guys even the article posted by Qasim is a copy/paste from a Pakistani newspaper. I wonder how it could be an editorial!!! Compare the 2 articles. here is the original article:
http://www.daily.pk/pakistan/pakistannew s/9231-raw-behind-balochistan-unrest-raw -raw-rocks-the-boat.html
The home page stinks of a variety of anti-India stuff—the usual Paki propaganda.
http://www.daily.pk/

Qasim, don’t waste time. Micthell, great job for your several posts lately.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

All respectable bloggers:
I apologize for the repeated messages due to uploading problem.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Rajeev,You are very right about daily.pk,its full of anti-India articles. The Pakistani papers should take a leaf out of Dawn. While the others have their main priority of spreading hatred,Dawn’s main agenda is spreading education about the troubles in SWAT,criticising Pakistani economic policies and so on. Of course he is a little inclined towards Pak in case of Indo-pak relations,like the times of India is inclined towards India.

Posted by mitchell | Report as abusive
 

Dailytimes.com.pk is left of liberal…whats evil is the Indian media

Posted by Qasim | Report as abusive
 

Qasim
So you did hide the fact of the source of the article-right?

what’s the problem with having open mind? I had oopen mind about RAW and researhed but found nothing that should Worry you at the moment. So let us Worry about the monster ISI.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

To all the Pakistanis who hate India,
I want to quote something from the Dawn-an opinion from Adil Zareef,member of the Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy. He talks about the Pakistani perception of other security agencies.

“There has been a lot of double talk. Generally, the public has been led to believe by the security agencies that RAW, Mossad and CIA mercenaries were bent upon dismembering Pakistan” “The outright lies, distortions, cover-ups and fumbling by the state’s spokesmen have reached absurd proportions not only leading to a credibility deficit but the suffering of hapless civilians in the name of ‘national interest’ ”

Also let us see his views about Baloch,”Was it not a matter of grave injustice to have killed thousands in East Pakistan in the name of national interest? We have carried out similar military operations on the same flimsy grounds in Balochistan, killing the provincial leadership or forcing it into exile. This has led to the destruction of local livelihoods, and vast tracts of land have been taken away in the name of development.”

http://www.dawn.com/2009/02/09/op.htm#4

You people have got your own problems,accept that! What’s wrong in accepting the fact as it is? Your recent research that the Mumbai terror attacks were planned in Europe or Bangladesh is only going to get more shame to your nation.

Posted by mitchell | Report as abusive
 

@Rajeev

It was printed in Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror magazine…hence the majority of the article was about Sri Lanka. But it did blame RAW for fanning unrest in Balochistan as well.

Posted by Qasim | Report as abusive
 

@mitchell

Pakistan has enough of its own problems, we know that & we see eradication of T-ism as being in our national interest. What you “refined intellectuals” dont understand is that by having a caricatured view of Pakistan & blaming the whole nation, you are marginalizing the moderates & the liberals in Pakistani society

Posted by Qasim | Report as abusive
 
 

Quasim,
See,I am not wasting my time in a pointless voyage. I want peace in Pakistan,because India benefits the most if there’s peace in South Asia. I want your moderates to educate your illiterates against using Jihad for killing innocent non-muslims. I want your moderates not to use the hate factor against India to unite your people because one day it will burst and end up in a civil war. I stand for a solution to Kashmir but not at the cost of Islamic Fanaticism. Particularly when the controversial hardliner cleric Anjum Chaudri told the BBC that killing of non-muslims is legitimate,it is the time for change in all of the Islamic states,if non-islamic or secular states have to survive.

Posted by mitchell | Report as abusive
 

@mitchell

Anjum Chaudhry is NOT a Pakistani, he is a mad mullah who may have had roots in Pakistan. The Pakis we sent to the UK were the ones we wanted to get rid of…they were the ones who EVEN TODAY are misfits in their own society & misfits in Pakistan as well. We dont want them & neither do the Brits…they are just so WIERD it escapes belief. Now you see, I am a “Pakistani”…..Anjum Chaudhry is a “Paki”…theres a difference!!

Secondly, I will restate that eradication of T-ism is in Pakistan’s national interest,because its good for business. Coming from a business family myself I have been affected by the lowering FDI and declining investment levels in Pakistan…in general, a society…any society needs peace if it is to prosper and create wealth for its citizens.

Thirdly, I will stop dissing your nation & engage you in constructive discussion,if you promise to do the same.

Posted by Qasim | Report as abusive
 

Qasim

—This very Indian “refined intellectuals” are the ones that are exercising restrain & not buckling under pressure to the warmongers,whereas the “marginalized moderates & liberals in Pakistani society”, if such do exist, lack guts & resolve to rein in the extremist ruling class – the Army & Mullahs.

“eradication of T-ism is in Pakistan’s national interest,because its good for business.”

— T-ism is the business of Pakistan! wonder what you’ll will live if eliminated?

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive
 

Anup wrote:
“— T-ism is the business of Pakistan! wonder what you’ll will live if eliminated?”

Anup, I am wondering how YOU will live if this blog is discontinued? where will run your smear campaign against Pakistan? Do you really think your junk posts really create an iota of difference? No.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Umair
“where will run your smear campaign against Pakistan?”

—Via internet from earth- In Hell, where you’ll belong…lol

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive
 

Anup wrote:
“—Via internet from earth- In Hell, where you’ll belong…lol”

psycopath mentally ill Anup, keep going you are doing well. Next you will be flying on mars? huh

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

“It was printed in Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror magazine…hence the majority of the article was about Sri Lanka. But it did blame RAW for fanning unrest in Balochistan as well.”
- Posted by Qasim
—-Original article Was in Pakdaily. Qasim, are you still hanging on to those lines for life. Shake off all your fears (be altert though) and the fact is ISI has and is sponsoring a variety of terrorisms in India using a variety of approaches. India does not love all this. It is too big to be easily disturbed by terrorism. US and NATO believe that PAK is not dispensable yet; so sanctions not possible that can arm twist PAK to stop all that T-ism. war is not an easy solution since unstable Pak’s nuke movement is dangerous (even without firing due to T-ist issue). Covert operations by India can shake Pakistan so easily right now. Do you think India’ll sit and T-ist attacks.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

“”"by having a caricatured view of Pakistan & blaming the whole nation, you are marginalizing the moderates & the liberals in Pakistani society”"”
—Liberals do not rule Pakistan, hence the reason.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Umair
“psycopath mentally ill”
—Huh? for what? using the net? is it proving to be counter-productive to pakistani’s? lol

“Next you will be flying on mars?”
—That’s advancement! not like you guys – committing suicide- hallucinating to end up in some perverted pleasure land – 72 virgins + 27 adolescent boys (sic)

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive
 

@Rajeev

Liberals are ruling Pakistan. Mr Musharraf was a liberal, and the current Pakistan People’s Party’s is a liberal, left-wing party.

But how would Indians know any of this as their level of knowledge about Pakistan is close to nil ?

 

@Mitchell

An opinion piece in Dawn does not make Pakistan guilty of everything, neither is the purpose of such pieces for them to be used as propaganda by hostile anti-Pakistan elements. An opinion piece can also be completely wrong, as it is true that Indian intelligence supports terrorists inside Pakistan, from Baloch groups to Pak-Taliban groups.

 

“Liberals are ruling Pakistan. Mr Musharraf was a liberal, and the current Pakistan People’s Party’s is a liberal, left-wing party.
But how would Indians know any of this as their level of knowledge about Pakistan is close to nil ?”"
- Posted by Bangash Khan

—Bangesh, in your post to Mitchell you say that article in Dawn is an opinion that could be wrong and does not mae Pakistan guility. So are you better than Dawn what you said above to me. We Indians enough of you and try to trust multiple sources of info, not just Indian media. In your Pakistan circles, isn’t it believed mullahs have influenced the Pakistani internal and external policies for a good reason they offer in many cases that they know about Sharia than the politicians. It is easier for Pakistan to control terrorists than to control hardcore religious Mullahs. This is the opinion of your own good journalists who want Pakistan progress and are not afraid to ask these questions, only that their views are rejected as opinions since you feel uncomfortable. I think you have forgotten LalMasjid siege so soon.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

@Rajeev

You did not acknowledge that you were wrong in saying that liberals don’t rule Pakistan. You just jumped to another complaint.

Reading many news outlets about Pakistan, including Pakistani ones is not going to make you an expert on the country. Media is biased, sensationalist and suffers from groupthink.

 

Russia should come forward to help US and its allies to settle the matter in this region. They are the ones who started it all in 1978 and it has come this far. Russia did suffer in Chechnya and Dagestan recently. These issues will erupt again. This needs to be put to bed. Countries like Kyrgystan have to be told either they are with us in the war on terror or they are against us. This is a crucial period in the war on terror. India should allow US to operate from the Kashmir under its control. That place is very close to Afghanistan as well. With US operating from inside Indian controlled Kashmir, India can let the American see for themselves on what exactly going on and all the claims of rapes, pillage, plunder by the Indian military that Pakistanis have been claiming can be checked by a different observer. In fact the US should set up its camps on both Indian and Pakistani sides of Kashmir. It will kill insurgency inside Kashmir and will help zero in on the Taliban from inside India as well as from Afghanistan. India is going to lose Kashmir otherwise.

 

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