Russia and NATO’s Afghan supply routes

Time for the West to mend fences with Iran’s neighbours

It’s unclear if US and NATO policy-makers are looking at maps of Afghanistan and its surroundings. How do they think they are going to supply their troops in landlocked Afghanistan? The supply lines through Pakistan are coming under increasing attack by Taliban militants. Bad relations with Iran mean that a route from the Persian Gulf transiting Iran is out of bounds. And now, an escalation in tensions with Russia could mean that yet another route is under threat.

It is unlikely that the US and NATO can afford to lose these supply routes, not least in the face of a resurgent Taliban.

Western strategists should pull out their maps. Even as they prevent relations with Russia from deteriorating any further, they would do well to begin engaging Iran. [See lubricating a US-Iran rapprochement]

6 thoughts on “Russia and NATO’s Afghan supply routes”

  1. Good point.

    Does seem like US might have to vacate A’stan soon.

    Well, either that, or an independent Balochistan should suit them well.

  2. Just a question – is flying supplies over Pakistani airspace (from Pakistani bases or directly from the Arabian sea) into Afghanistan really expensive and not practical/secure?

  3. The current situation in Russia (Georgia) has definitely raised some ears in the United States. It is hard for me to believe they are oblivious to the current situation

    Russia has never been happy about NATO excursions through its territory nor has it every stopped viewing Afghanistan as supreme strategic importance in Central Asia.

    Here are some key events over the last few weeks

    1.Russian/Georgian scrimmage.

    2.Recent missile agreement reached between Poland and the US. I am sure the US will do the maximum to keep Russia in check, leaving Afghanistan would counter that goal.

    3.It is curious that a few weeks ago the CIA publicly implicated the ISI in the Kabul Bombings, maybe it is part of the efforts to apply more pressure on Pakistan?

    It is going to be interesting to see how the US “deals” with Iran. Good relations with Iran from a US perspective can be defined as one where they can dictate terms and conditions to the Persians.

    The whole situation in Central Asia (Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia and Georgia) is definitely very unsettling

  4. Sud: Does seem like US might have to vacate A’stan soon.

    Not going to happen especially in the face of a resurgent Taliban. More likely, Zardari might force the hand of the Pak military with his demented bid for President (he suffers from dementia, apparently). And the US will have to deal just with Kayani and his ilk rather than pretend to work with the civvies who can talk but cannot deliver.

  5. I don’t think things are that bad now that supply lines from Pakistan have been cut. In any case, the strategy now appears to be to strengthen relations with the other countries in the region such as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Georgia and Ukraine. With Turkey being a strong ally of the US, it is not that hard for American ships to move across the Black Sea to ports in these countries and then use land routes to reach Afghanistan – US naval carriers are already doing just that as they bring ‘humanitarian’ aid to Georgia. It appears that the goal now is to capitalize on the fear that the Russian invasion has sowed in these countries to bring them into NATO’s fold ASAP which would not only help isolate Russia but contribute to the strategic goals of the US in the region.

  6. >>I don’t think things are that bad now that supply lines from Pakistan have been cut. In any case, the strategy now appears to be to strengthen relations with the other countries in the region such as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Georgia and Ukraine. With Turkey being a strong ally of the US, it is not that hard for American ships to move across the Black Sea to ports in these countries and then use land routes to reach Afghanistan – US naval carriers are already doing just that as they bring ‘humanitarian’ aid to Georgia.

    The only other possibility other than Pakisitan, Iran and Russia is to use Turkey – Georgia – Azerbajan – Caspian sea – Turkmenistan. That invovles multiple sea and land routes. And I have no clue about the road netowrk if there exists in the region. Geographically speaking, Iran is the best bet for routes other than Pakisitan. Politically, there is no way out.

    http://www.map-of-asia.us/images/map-of-asia.gif

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