Thursday, May 19, 2011

U.S. Explores Pakistan Supply Route Alternatives - Defense News

U.S. Explores Pakistan Supply Route Alternatives - Defense News: "A shutdown of the supply routes that run through Pakistan would pose problems for the U.S. military but would not halt Afghan operations, according to the Army's chief logistics officer.
'We would overcome it,' Army Lt. Gen. Mitchell Stevenson, deputy chief of staff for logistics, told the Senate Armed Services readiness subcommittee during a May 18 hearing. 'It would not stop Afghanistan operations, but it would be a challenge.'

Several lawmakers have voiced concern about the U.S. relationship with Pakistan following the capture of Osama bin Laden. A key part of that relationship is Pakistan's permission for the U.S. to move supplies for Afghanistan through the country. If those supply routes were shut down for any reason, lawmakers wanted to know what would happen.

The Army keeps 45 days worth of fuel on the ground in Afghanistan so that operations can withstand severe disruptions to its supply lines, Stevenson said.

If the southern routes were shut down, the U.S. would increase its use of airdrops and flow more in from the north. However, that route takes much longer and is more expensive, Stevenson said.