Archive for the 'Logistics' Category

Helmand: Camping Trip to Hell

BY Herschel Smith
11 years, 10 months ago

From McClatchy.

FOB HASSANABAD, Afghanistan — The young Marines at this outpost could be on a camping trip to Hell.

The living conditions in Helmand Province, one of the worst regions for trouble in Afghanistan, are such that most of friends and family in the United States wouldn’t consider putting up with them for one day, much less the months these men will be assigned here.

It’s not even officially winter, yet temperatures routinely fall below freezing at night, and there’s no heat in the tents. At night when standing guard in one of the security towers, the Marines put on layer after layer of clothes, including thermal suits. It does little to ward off the chill of the desert air.

There is no hot water. The only running water in the camp comes from a 3 inch diameter hose that jets out cold water in fire hydrant fashion. Clothes are washed in buckets, when time permits and the weather cooperates, then strung between tents and dried in the sun.

There are “sun” bags that can warm water to a tolerable temperature but they’re used outside in a small wooden enclosure where the wind wreaks havoc on the bathing experience. Some of the men go for a couple of weeks without a real bath, using cloth sanitary wipes. Many just use the cold water from the hose and get clean as fast as possible without succumbing to uncontrollable shivering.

Meals come in a box. After a few days they all taste the same: Chicken with salsa, meat loaf, pork loin patty, cheese tortellini. The men gruble, as military nmen have for centuries.

Toilet facilities are wooden stalls with canvas doors and plastic commode seats where WAG (Waste Allocation and Gell) bags are used.

Mice are everywhere, pouring in from the surrounding cornfields. The men have adopted several kittens, even outfitting them with flea collars. The arrangement benefits t the cats and the Marines; the cats crave the attention and they have a healthy appetite for the mice.

But the Marines of Golf Company don’t mind the austere conditions. Most shrug their shoulders and say they don’t like spending much time in the base camp anyway, they’d rather be out on patrol chasing the bad guys.

There’s no shortage of bad guys in Helmand, scene of some of the most intense fighting in Afghanistan. It boasts the highest casualty rate in the country.

But the Marines say they don’t mind. After all they are Marines.

Now compare this to the conditions we observed in Bagram Bloats: Where is the infantry?

The base’s main road, a tree-lined thoroughfare called “Disney drive,” is so congested at times it looks like a downtown street at rush hour. Kicking up dust on that road are Humvees, mine-resistant vehicles, SUVs, buses, trucks and sedans.

A pedestrian path running alongside that road is as busy as a shopping street on a Saturday afternoon, with hundreds of soldiers, Marines, airmen, navy officers and civilian contractors almost rubbing shoulders. Similarly, the lines are long at the overcrowded food halls, the American fast food outlets, cafes, PX stores and ATM machines.

Signs on bathroom walls warn of a water shortage.

“If you think you are maybe wasting water, YOU PROBABLY ARE,” warns one sign.

Clients must wait, sometimes for up to an hour, for a haircut. For the luxury of a back massage, an appointment is recommended.

The ratio of support to infantry is far too high, the efficiency of logistics too low, and the expense of supplies out of control.  Until this institutional and bureaucratic bloat is lanced, any campaign will cost more than it should not only in terms of dollars, but in that most important metric: human lives.  The DoD needs real force transformation, not shuffling the deck chairs.

The Logistical Cost of Being Deployed

BY Herschel Smith
11 years, 11 months ago

The logistical cost of being deployed in Afghanistan is especially high due to the nature of providing land-locked troops with heavy equipment, weapons, ammunition and other necessary supplies (including fuel for machinery, from helicopters and other aircraft to generators).

Hence I was among the first to point out the Taliban strategy of interdiction of supplies through Khyber and Chamen (coming from the Pakistani port city of Karachi), and also among the first to weigh in against the daydream of Russia as a viable and reliable logistics route, recommending instead engaging the Caucasus for such needs.

There there are the local costs to consider after bulk supplies have been transported.  We don’t own the terrain because of lack of troops, and this lack of ownership is expensive.  How expensive?  From Thomas P.M. Barnett, courtesy of SWJ Blog:

“Rebalancing” has been the watchword of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy to date: rebalancing the global economy between East and West, rebalancing domestic needs and foreign responsibilities, and — soon enough — rebalancing the international security burden among the world’s great powers. One number explains why that last rebalancing is necessary: It costs the United States $1 million a year to keep a soldier inside a theater of operations such as Afghanistan. The math is easy enough: For every thousand troops, the price comes out to $1 billion a year.

Rob Thornton adds this WSJ source:

“In a speech in mid-October, Gen. Conway said military-grade fuel — which costs roughly $1 a gallon in the U.S. — can sometimes cost the Marine Corps about $400 per gallon once all the expenses of ferrying it into Afghanistan are factored in. The Marines operating in southern Afghanistan consume more than 88,000 gallons of the fuel per day, he said.

“Most all of that comes along this fairly tenuous supply line across Pakistan, where we’re paying large amounts of money to tribes so that they don’t fight each other and so that they don’t raid our supply lines,” Gen. Conway said at an energy conference in Virginia.

Pricey, no doubt, as we have pointed out for months and even years.  But Schmedlap points out the Tom Barnett has used a linear equation to figure the costs of larger units based on smaller units.  This doesn’t account for the difference between fixed and variable costs.  True enough, Schmedlap.  Good catch.

But I’ll go one step further.  While not claiming that the equation is linear, it (i.e., the costs per person) is more nearly inversely proportional than proportional.  At least, there is a turn-around where it becomes less expensive to deploy more troops.  No, not just on a per person basis, but in total.  I claim that it would be less expensive in the long run to deploy 100,000 troops than it would be to deploy 50,000.

Audacious claim, no?  But consider the cost of a gallon of gasoline in Helmand.  $400.  It costs this much because we cannot ensure security and don’t own the roads.  Even the Afghani contractors we hire attempt the transit of supplies by strap hanging.  The lack of security is why combat outposts and other far flung posts must be supplied entirely be helicopter.

Helicopters are of such importance at the moment that the campaign would fall apart without them.  If you own the terrain and can ensure relative security compared to what we have at the moment, the price of a gallon of gasoline would drop from $400.

With logistics being the main cost of the war, more troops doesn’t necessarily mean greater expense.

Can an Insurgency (and Counterinsurgency) Remain Static?

BY Herschel Smith
12 years ago

Our friend BruceR floats some ideas in a recent post, two of which are at least tangentially related.  In the first idea he cites A. J. Rossmiller from TNR.

First, the insurgency does not have the capability to defeat U.S. forces or depose Afghanistan’s central government; and, second, U.S. forces do not have the ability to vanquish the insurgency. It’s true that the Taliban has gained ground in recent months, but, absent a full and immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops, it cannot retake sovereign control. This is not to say that Afghanistan isn’t unstable; it clearly is. That has been the case for eight years, however, and, in the absence of some shocking, unforeseen development, it could be true for another eight or 18 or 80 years. An increase of tens of thousands of troops will not change that fact, nor will subtle tactical changes. Rather than teetering on the edge of some imagined precipice, the situation in Afghanistan is at a virtual stalemate.

I disagree, but let’s hold our response in abatement until we cover the second idea.

I am firmly convinced that a shift to a “small footprint” counter-terrorism mission is not only possible but will best serve U.S. national security. To use a military term of art, the bottom line up front is that the United States could successfully transition to an effective small footprint counterterrorism mission over the course of the next three years, ending up with a force of about 13,000 military personnel (or less) in Afghanistan.

BruceR is not advocating the CT position – perhaps, it’s hard to tell – but it appears that he is merely linking it as another idea in the long chain of ideas floating around about Afghanistan at the moment.  Let’s go with that.

To buy into the first notion, i.e., that an insurgency (and counterinsurgency) can remain static for an undefined and protracted amount of time, you would have to believe that both sides are seen as equally righteous, virtuous and within their rights in conducting the campaign.  U.S. troops (and the ISAF) are foreigners, and there would be, it seems, an element of expectation that foreign troops not continue to play a game to a draw, thus prolonging the misery and agony of war for the people.

I will grant the point that there is no particular rush (as in days or even perhaps weeks) in supplying more troops to Afghanistan.  Readers can tool back through the archives and will fail to find a “sky is falling unless we supply more troops within the next two weeks” article.  But if I haven’t advocated panic, I have advocated more troops all along just as I did with Iraq.  I believe that the fear of too large a footprint is vastly overblown, and the more important element for population control and alignment with the counterinsurgent is force projection, progress and increasing stability.

Concerning the small v. large footprint, the element missing in all of the analyses which advocates the counterterrorism approach is the unstated assumption that we can continue to have basing rights, adequate logistics, ordnance, air support and intelligence while we leave the countryside (and urban centers) to Taliban control.  Why, exactly, anyone would believe that there would be any Afghan truck drivers to deliver fuel, food, vehicles, etc., when they will have all been beheaded, is a complete mystery.

Logistics is the beginning, middle and end of a campaign.  Without it, troops don’t succeed.  I was among the first to point out the insurgent strategy of interdicting supplies one and a half years ago while stolid and incompetent U.S. Generals (like Rodriguez) were claiming that the campaign was going just swimmingly.  As our logistics category shows, we have covered this ever since, and the problems continue apace.

To believe that we – the counterinsurgent – can continue to swim in the same sea of vehicles, air traffic, food, water, ordnance, weapons and intelligence support for SOF operators who are killing Taliban and al Qaeda HVTs, while at the same time we send nine tenths of the troops home is simply a fairy tale.  It’s the stuff of children’s stories.

Finally, concerning the small footprint model, continuing the campaign for the next 18 or 80 years, as the stupid TNR article said, without properly resourcing the troops to do the job, introduces an intractable moral dilemma to the argument.  Even if the proposal has been put forward as a straw man for the sake of debate, the argument presupposes that it’s acceptable to the American public to sacrifice the sons of America for a campaign that doesn’t have what it needs to succeed.  This has never happened in American history, and it won’t happen this time either.  It will be resource the campaign or get out – in the psyche of the American public, and in the countryside of Afghanistan.  Both point to a nexus for the campaign.

Logistical Challenges of IEDs in Helmand

BY Herschel Smith
12 years, 2 months ago

From the Washington Post in a very interesting article.

Standing by the wreckage the next morning, Murphy explained that while several vehicles have been destroyed this way, the logistical challenges mean that replacements are slowly arriving. Indeed, Castle said Lasher and the other Marines had had to ride in a Humvee because one of their team’s mine-resistant vehicles had been disabled. “If they had been in an MRAP, they probably all would have survived,” Castle said.

Even as losses from roadside bombs mount, Marine commanders know they can bypass main roads for only so long. It is a matter of time, they say, before insurgents target the desert routes and foot patrols. Ultimately, they know the solution lies in dismantling the networks of Taliban bombmakers, and that, in turn, will come only with help from a wary Afghan population.

For now, if units such as Echo Company want to travel even small stretches of road, they must commit to the manpower-intensive work of keeping watch 24 hours a day. As they scrutinized the moonlit road leading to the desert last week, Friis and the other Marines reflected with some bitterness over the loss of their friends, and questioned whether many Americans appreciate — or even know of — their daily grind in the windswept purgatory of Helmand.

“People need to know these guys were heroes. They were fighting so the people living in Potomac and Fairfax in their million-dollar houses don’t have to,” said Friis, a dark-haired, soft-spoken enlistee who is the dog handler for a bomb-sniffing black lab named Jenny.

Paar and Davila, who had a leg amputated, are recovering at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. Xiarhos’s wake was recently held in Massachusetts.

Long time readers of The Captain’s Journal know that we are big advocates of foot patrols.  Operation Khanjar has progressed based on aggressive dismounted patrolling through the countryside of Helmand as opposed to the roads.  Also, there are plans in the works for UAV support of Marines in lieu of logistics via roads.  TCJ supports the idea of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force more than we support the sea-based amphibious assault concept based around the EFV.  Yet the roads must be confronted, and in order to do this, more troops are necessary.  Enough troops must be present – and their commitment long enough – to ensure that the population turns over those who emplace IEDs to the Marines.  The Marine Corps awaits the administration?

Marines, Beasts and Water

BY Herschel Smith
12 years, 3 months ago

In Scenes From Operation Khanjar II we discussed heavy battle space weight, the contribution of water to this weight, and the necessity for Marine infantry to be all male.  A debate ensued concerning all of the salient points, but the truth remains that it requires young males in superior condition to sprint with body armor under fire, and carry (in many cases) more than 120 pounds of weapons, food, armor, water, ammunition and equipment for ten to twelve hours a day in more than 100 degree heat.  The low hanging fruit has already been picked.  There isn’t much else that can be done concerning weight with the exception of ESAPI plates, and even modifications to these won’t remove the heavy weight of water.

U.S. Marine dog handler corporal Chad Perraut, with 2nd platoon, F company, 5th battalion, 10th Marines pours water for Body, a Marine bomb sniffer patrol dog, during a patrol in southern Afghanistan. After five years coping with the most dangerous province in Iraq, the U.S. Marines have been given their next assignment: Helmund, the most dangerous province in Afghanistan.

Heavy exertion in hot weather while wearing body armor requires that the Marine carry enough to drink multiple liters of water every hour to avoid dehydration and even heat stroke.  The heat is as much of an enemy as the insurgents.

After hours of ferocious fighting in southern Afghanistan, the two young US Marines desperately needed emergency medical care — and it was the heat, not the Taliban, that had finally defeated them.

Charles Auge and Edwin Saez had landed at a canal junction at dawn last Thursday as part of a major US offensive against Islamist insurgents in the key province of Helmand.

They were engaged in an intense battle through the heat of day against dozens of gunmen who were determined not to lose control of the Mian Poshtey intersection in the south of Garmsir district.

When their two-and-a-half-litre (five-US-pint) water backpacks ran out, Auge and Saez looked to restock from the bottles that Echo company from the 2/8 infantry battalion had brought with them on the helicopter assault.

But as the company came under constant fire, the supplies were limited and the water scorchingly hot when it did arrive.

“We were on the flank beside a thick grass berm, and in the middle of the day the sun was so strong and there was no shade,” Auge, 24, said. “I began to feel dizzy and everything turned white.”

Saez, 21, also became a “heat casualty” soon after, having shot at — and apparently killed — two gunmen who were firing at the Marines from behind a wall.

“I started slipping in and out of consciousness,” he said. “The water we got was so hot it burnt in my throat.”

The two Marines became so seriously ill that they were evacuated from the battlefield by Red Cross helicopters that came in under hostile fire.

They were treated with intravenous drips and ice baths, and kept under observation at a field hospital for three days before being released, now recovering from the ordeal.

Marines run through a door that they blew open with explosives after taking fire from inside a compound in Mian Poshteh, in the hot dust of Helmand.

Command knows that this is an issue and is trying to deal with it.

… we understand the number one threat here right now today is not the Taliban, it’s the heat.  And as I said, it is hot as fire.  Every day we’ve got helicopters, day and night, pushing all manner of logistics, but especially pallets of water to the Marines.  I am more than confident — and I stay in touch with my commanders down there — I am more than confident that we’re getting the amount of water they need in a timely manner.  No one is going without water.

My problem, and what I’m fussing about with my staff, is that the water’s not cold.  We need to freeze that water.  We need to deliver water that’s pretty well frozen.  It will thaw out very quickly.  So we’re working on that.

Insertion of Marines at the outset of Operation Khanjar, Marines carry water.

Failure to plan for this is stolid and inept.  But there are families that are pressing for formal investigations into marches in severe heat at the beginning of Operation Khanjar.  This is about as inept as the failure to plan for cold water.  What would the results of such an investigation be?  That the life of a Marine infantryman is hard?

The Marine logistics officers in Southern Helmand should plan better, the Marine families should drop their demands for investigations, and Marine infantry remains a young man’s job (with special emphasis on both young and man).

Where the Taliban Roam

BY Herschel Smith
12 years, 5 months ago

From the Australian.

When Hamid Karzai drove to Kabul airport to fly to the US last week, the centre of the Afghan capital was closed down by well-armed security officers, soldiers and police. While in Washington, Afghanistan’s President delivered a speech on ways of fighting terrorism. The title of his lecture shows a certain cheek. Karzai’s seven years in power since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001 have been notable for his failure to prevent their resurgence.

If his motorcade out of Kabul had taken a different route and headed south, he soon would have experienced the limits of his Government’s authority. It ends at a beleaguered police post within a few minutes’ drive of the capital.

Drivers heading for the southern cities of Ghazni, Qalat and Kandahar check their pockets to make sure they are not carrying documents linking them to the Government. They do so because they know they will not have travelled far down the road before they are stopped and their identity checked by black-turbaned Taliban. On their motorcycles, squads of six to eight men set up checkpoints along the road. Sometimes they even take a traveller’s mobile phone and redial numbers recently called. If the call is answered by a government ministry or a foreigner, then the phone’s owner may be executed on the spot.

The jibe that Karzai is only mayor of Kabul has some truth to it. It is not only when travelling south that the Taliban is in control. I wanted to go to Bamyan in central Afghanistan, which is inhabited by the Hazara, an ethnic group that was savagely persecuted by fundamentalist Taliban during its years in power.

But it turned out that I could no longer travel there by road. Mohammed Sarwar Jawadi, a member of the Afghan parliament representing Bamyan, who spent two years in a Taliban prison before escaping, tells me that Bamyan is safe enough. The problem is the route.

“There are two roads going there, but do not take the southern one because it is controlled by the Taliban,” Jawadi says. There is an alternative, safe enough so long as “you bring plenty of armed guards”.

The best experts on the dangers of the road in most countries are not the police or the army but the truckers, whose lives and livelihoods depend on correctly assessing the risks. The situation deteriorated 18 months ago, says Abdul Bayan, owner of a transport company in Kabul called Nawe Aryana. His trucks carry goods across the country, but they face ever increasing danger, particularly if they are carrying supplies for NATO or foreign forces.

The reader can read the entire report for themselves.  This brief introduction shows what The Captain’s Journal has been saying all along concerning logistics routes, et. al.  There has been robust debate among counterinsurgency experts over where to deploy the additional troops, or even what justification to use for more troops.

Here is the justification.  Until we deploy the right number of troops in the places where the Taliban have sanctuary, rest, recruit, raise their revenue, and interdict our lines of logistics, we will not bring this campaign to a satisfactory outcome.  Deployment of additional troops to ensure that Hamid Karzai continues to be the mayor of Kabul doesn’t help anything.

There is a huge and time sensitive problem with force size and lines of logistics.  But despite what the counterinsurgency experts are saying, until and unless we deploy enough troops in the places where the Taliban roam, we will not succeed.

More Attacks on Logistics Routes

BY Herschel Smith
12 years, 6 months ago

While the Taliban are pushing towards the centers of gravity in Pakistan, they aren’t forgetting their central strategy of interdicting NATO supply routes.

Dozens of militants armed with guns and gasoline bombs attacked the truck terminal in northwestern Pakistan Thursday and burned five tanker trucks carrying fuel to NATO troops  in Afghanistan, police said (AP Photo – Mohammad Sajjad).

Police say militants attacked the truck depot near the city of Peshawar before dawn on Thursday, hurling petrol bombs which set fire to the five tankers. Several truckers drove their vehicles out of the terminal to save them.

The solution is fairly straight-forward, but it requires the willingness to press the “make my day” button with Russia instead of the “reset” button.

The Importance of Logistics

BY Herschel Smith
12 years, 6 months ago

Regular readers know all about our deep love for good logistics, and our disdain for improper planning.  We have said repeatedly that field grade logistics officers will determine how fast we can draw down in Iraq, not the administration, and not flag officers.  Logistics can be the ultimate bottleneck for warfare.  Logistics can also be the most remarkable capability in the battle space.

Staff Sgt. Alfred Luna, right, and Spec. Randy Neff count ammunition that 4th Engineer Battalion has to turn in before it departs Baghdad. The unit is getting ready to redeploy to Afghanistan, after arriving in Iraq just a few weeks ago.

Welcome to Iraq. Now go to Afghanistan.

That was the message delivered to the Army’s 4th Engineer Battalion just two weeks after arriving in Baghdad for what was supposed to be a year-long tour.

Despite the stress caused by the unusual change of plans last month, many of the unit’s approximately 500 soldiers said they realized their specialty — clearing roads of bombs and other obstacles — is more needed in the area of southern Afghanistan, where they’ll likely begin patrols in a few weeks.

“If we were in the frying pan, we’re now heading directly into the fire,” Capt. Heath Papkov, one of the unit’s company commanders, said this week as the soldiers packed their gear to leave.

Moving a unit directly from one theater of war to another on such short notice is very rare, said Lt. Col. Kevin Landers, the battalion’s commander. Usually when troops are shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan, the change occurs between regular rotations abroad, after they spend several months at their home base.

The decision underscores how military commanders are scrambling to meet President Obama’s orders to draw down the U.S. presence in Iraq while deploying an additional 21,000 troops to combat the growing insurgency in Afghanistan.

Even after a spate of bombings in Baghdad in recent weeks, the overall rate of violence in Iraq remains at levels not seen since 2003, according to the U.S. military. Meanwhile, attacks on U.S. andNATO troops are on the rise in Afghanistan, and roadside bombs are the cause of 75% of coalition casualties there.

The region where the 4th Engineer Battalion is being deployed accounts for about 60% of all roadside bombs in Afghanistan.

The battalion’s transfer is “either an indication of the improving situation in Iraq or the quickly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan,” said Loren Thompson, a military expert at the Lexington Institute. “It’s probably more of the latter.”

The unit has continued its patrols in Baghdad while preparing for the move, a huge undertaking that includes the movement of millions of pounds of gear and dozens of heavy-armored vehicles. It could take 40 to 60 flights to transfer everything.

Commanders could not put a precise estimate on the additional cost of the move, but 2nd Lt. Gregory Smith, a logistics officer, said it will cost “millions and millions of dollars.”

“It’s been pretty stressful,” Smith said. “But it’s a good feeling to be going where we’re really needed.”

Logistics rules.  Without it, the battle space doesn’t work.  Period.  End of discussion.  Next time you see a logistics NCO, give him props for the good work he had done.

Postscript: I would have made an outstanding logistics officer, I think.  Yes.  Outstanding.  I’m sure of it.

Marines, Animals and Counterinsurgency

BY Herschel Smith
12 years, 7 months ago

In More on Battle Space Weight we covered the almost frantic search for pounds as the fact became increasingly clear that the weight Soldiers and Marines carried in Iraq was heavy, but perhaps even prohibitive in Afghanistan.  Exhaustion, lower extremity injuries and lack of mobility mark the heavy weight our warriors carry today.  One possible remedy is the Big Dog, the otherwise cool machine that sounds like a million angry bees.  Here it is one more time.

To our observation that the warrior today carries at least 32 more pounds than in WWII due exclusively to body armor, commenter mwc33 responded:

Isn’t the other big difference between World War II and today the load our enemies are carrying? German and Japanese troops carried comparable combat loads; insurgents in Iraq or Afghanistan don’t – and the disparity in mobility in Iraq’s urban environment has to be multiplied in mountainous and other difficult terrain.

Those 32 pounds of body armor are a big pain in the a$$ and everything possible should be done to lighten them. But while “big dog” may be kinda dumb, even with the lightest possible armor we’re still carrying 40 -70 more pounds than the bad guys; something has to be figured out to lighten the load – not just because of the weight itself, but because our combat loads can straitjacket us with TTPs and can make us predictable in the eyes of the enemy.

Outstanding point!  It’s not just that we’re carrying heavier loads, it’s also that the insurgent isn’t carrying any at all due to the fact that he lives among the population.  So even if the Big Dog works, what to do?


The taxpayer has spent billions to make sure America’s fighting forces have the most high-tech modes of transportation.

But in a country like Afghanistan where the enemy hides in mountain lairs, where there are few foot paths, and no roads at all, sometimes a more primitive conveyance makes more sense.

And so soldiers and Marines possibly headed to Afghanistan were at the Animal Packers Course at the Hawthorne (Calif.) Army Ammunition Depot learning how to use mules, donkeys and horses to pack water, ammunition, weapons and medical supplies.

“With vehicles, you have to worry about things like lubrication, tires and fuel,” said Marine Staff. Sgt. Tyler McDaniel. “With animals, you have to think about stuff like shoes and grooming.”

True enough, there may be a call for Farriers in the Marines.  Wonder if that will become a billet?  At any rate, having trained them before, I am partial to quarter horses, and while on their back I have put them in some precarious and dangerous places and positions on the trail.  They are sure-footed and reliable.

But whether horses or mules, the solution may be a millennium old.  Well now.  It looks as if all of that discussion about the health of transport animals in the Small Wars Manual isn’t so dated and irrelevant after all.

Attack on Logistics Near Chaman

BY Herschel Smith
12 years, 7 months ago

In Caucasus Talks on Logistical Transit Routes for Afghanistan we discussed the recent attack on NATO supplies in Baluchistan province’s Soorab, noting that this seemed to be a new front in the Taliban campaign against logistics.  Now comes a second attack within eight days, this time near the town of Chaman.

Two men on a motorcycle threw a bomb at a truck carrying an excavating machine to NATO troops in Afghanistan, halting traffic Wednesday along a supply route through Pakistan’s southwest, officials said.

No one was injured in the blast near the Pakistani frontier town of Chaman, but the machine was damaged, area police chief Gul Mohammed said.

U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan rely heavily on two major supply routes running through Pakistan. The main one goes through the Khyber Pass in the northwest, and trucks that use it have frequently been attacked.

The smaller route through Chaman has attracted less attention from militants, but has not been exempt from violence.

This developing trend to expand the targeting of NATO supplies into the South makes all the more important the trial runs of supplies through the Caucasus and the need to engage that region.  Faster, please.

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