Monday, January 16, 2012

With Allies like these...

So, you taxpayers might want to ask your gummint just WTF the State Department is doing to fix this:

Supply likes in Afghanistan, or more appropriately to Afghanistan, are weird.  We fly in troops and very-high priority supplies, but the bulk of our supplies is trucked in through the mountains of Pakistan… our ally in the War on man-caused disasters.  You taxpayers pay THROUGH THE NOSE for this freight, which is brought into a port, loaded onto trucks, and driven to us.  We have to pay the drivers extra because the trip is so hazardous.  We have to pay the government of Pakistan for passage.  We have to pay the local tribal warlords for “protection”—to keep them from attacking our convoys.  We then have to pay the drivers extra for the tolls they pay to leave Pakistan.

But that’s really the cost of doing business.  (Business with the country that harbored Osama Bin Laden, and continues to, if not provide safe haven for many other Taliban leaders, then either actively not look for them, or they really, really suck at it.)

But even that isn’t the point—about six weeks ago, we identified some 24 people with an assortment of weapons near the afghan border—in a place we were looking for insurgent activity.  They weren’t, as far as we could tell, Pakistani military.  We even asked the PakMil liaison if they had any units operating in that location.  The PakMil answered no, they must be insurgents.  So we dropped a couple of “Welcome to Afghanistan” and “Someone in America still remembers 9/11” packages on them.  End result:  24 dead non-Pakistani military.

Then the PakMil started going apeshit, saying that, yes, in fact, those were their military, they just weren’t where they were supposed to be, or the liaison read the coordinates wrong, or they were always such good, quiet neighbors, or whatever they thought they could say to shift blame.  Turns out, all they had to do was shift blame by continuing to claim that they told us the formerly above room temperature guys were their military and somehow, we fucked up.

Now, the gummint of Pakistan (our allies, mind you) have blocked all coalition forces freight from transiting their border.  What does that mean?  It means that hundreds of thousands of TONS of materiel and supplies are sitting on trucks in Pakistan, waiting at the Torkham gate to be attacked and plundered by either the Taliban, local warlords, or the Pakistani government.  It also means that supplies we normally rely on through ground resupply will have to be flown in—but they can’t just fly in the supplies that are already in Pakistan, they have to bring new supplies all the way in to Kuwait and then fly them from there.  Any idea how many planeloads of cargo it takes to supply some 30,000 troops with food, fuel, ammunition, repair parts, clothes, mail, construction materials, weapons, vehicles, bulk and critical medical supplies, etc?  Not to mention the equipment that the units rotating in are sending, and the equipment departing units are bringing home. 

There simply are not enough airplanes, crews, or hours in the day to do it.  It would require something like the Berlin airlift, but instead of supplying a city, it would have to supply an entire country. 

And what do our “Allies” want to allow our cargo transit through their borders?

Not much—just an apology, an admission of guilt, …and of course, more money.


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