US seeking new supply routes into Afghanistan

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Torkham (Afghanistan), Nov. 19 : The United States is reportedly seeking new supply routes into Afghanistan to counter the Taliban's attacks on NATO supply-laden trucks.

One of the routes under consideration is the border town of Torkham that lies below the Khyber Pass.

According to the Washington Post, about 75 percent of NATO and U.S. supplies bound for Afghanistan -- including gas, food and military equipment -- are transported over land through Pakistan. The journey begins in Karachi and continues north through Pakistan's volatile North-West Frontier Province and tribal areas before supplies arrive at the Afghan border.

The convoys then press forward along mountain hairpin turns through areas of Afghanistan that are known as havens for insurgents.

Drivers at this busy border crossing say death threats from the Taliban arrive almost daily. Sometimes they come in the form of a letter taped to the windshield of a truck late at night. Occasionally, a dispatcher receives an early-morning phone call before a convoy sets off from Pakistan. More often, the threats are delivered at the end of a gun barrel.

The growing danger has forced the Pentagon to seek far longer, but possibly safer, alternate routes through Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, according to Defense Department documents.

A notice to potential contractors by the U.S. Transportation Command in September said that "strikes, border delays, accidents and pilferage" in Pakistan and the risk of "attacks and armed hijackings" in Afghanistan posed "a significant risk" to supplies for Western forces in Afghanistan.

A reliable supply route is considered vital to sustaining the approximately 67,000 foreign troops stationed in Afghanistan, including 32,000 Americans.

NATO and U.S. military officials have said raids on the supply line from Pakistan to Afghanistan have not significantly affected their operations.

Yet the scramble to find new routes appears to indicate the attacks have had some effect.

ANI

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