Taliban can choke NATO supplies

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Lahore, May 1 (ANI): The Taliban has the potential to not only expand suicide attacks inside Pakistan, but also to put greater pressure on the routes ferrying supplies to NATO troops in Afghanistan.

The new US plan calls for increasing troop levels in Afghanistan, would require more supplies. And the most viable overland supply lines run through Pakistan.

Seventy percent of Western supplies to NATO forces pass through the Tribal Areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan. The supplies are offloaded in Karachi and trucked to depots in Peshawar, then through the Khyber Pass to Kabul.

The Khyber Pass is particularly vulnerable. Blowing up a bridge there can shut down convoy traffic for days. This has happened seven times since September. The depots and terminals in Peshawar have also been plagued by suspected Taliban sabotage.

The Daily Times quoted Stratfor analyst Kamran Bokhari as suggesting that the Pakistan Army should be involved in ferrying supplies.

"If the army is doing it or is in charge of ferrying all these supplies and making sure they reach their destinations, there is a monetary incentive in that because there's a lot of money involved and the military will get a cut in that," Bokhari said.

Brian Cloughley, a former Australian army military attach‚ in Islamabad, says the system is riddled with corruption among the contractors.

"There's quite a lot of underhanded manoeuvring concerning contracts and, of course, the actual passage of vehicles because one contractor can perhaps say, 'Right, if you are not going to pay me off, I will ensure that your convoy is torched'," he said. (ANI)

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