| Ander Nieuws week 36 / Midden-Oosten 2010 |
Pakistan flooding disrupts Afghan war supplies

The New York Times
August 24, 2010
Carlotta Gall
The immense floods that have inundated sections of Pakistan and cut roads and railways have also disrupted the main supply lines for United States and NATO military forces in Afghanistan.
Trucks carrying United States military vehicles under blue tarpaulins were caught in a 30-mile traffic jam on the main highway from the southern port of Karachi to the capital, Islamabad, at the weekend where floodwaters had broken the road and reduced traffic to single file.
Those trucks were far from their usual routes to Afghanistan through western Pakistan, which have been completely cut off because of the floods. Supply trucks are now having to take the much longer route through the center of the country to Islamabad, and then on to Peshawar and the Afghan border. Roads to Peshawar in the northwest have also been cut off.
The bulk of supplies for the United States military, including fuel for its bases across southern Afghanistan, pass through Pakistan from Karachi along two routes to Afghanistan, both of which have been cut off by the floods, Pakistani officials here said.
Capt. Kevin Aandahl, a spokesman for United States Transportation Command, which oversees logistics for the war, said that the flooding had slowed supply lines but had not stopped matériel from getting to American troops in Afghanistan.
"The bottom line is that stuff is moving," Captain Aandahl said. He said he did not know the extent of the slowdown, but that goods were still crossing from Pakistan into Afghanistan via the two main border crossings.
The southernmost route used to supply the Kandahar Air Base in southern Afghanistan goes through the town of Sukkur, then to Jacobabad and Quetta, crossing the Afghan border at Chaman. That road is underwater and has been washed away in some areas, and Jacobabad is completely cut off, accessible only by air, said Ejaz Jakaharani, a member of Parliament from Jacobabad.
The other route trucks use to reach the Afghan capital, Kabul, and Bagram Air Base is the Indus Highway, which runs along the right bank of the Indus River from Karachi to Dera Ismail Khan, providing the shortest route to Peshawar and the Afghan border crossing at Torkham. That road is underwater north of the town of Shikarpur and is impassable, said Ali Nawaz, an inspector for the National Highway Authority. Trucks carrying United States military supplies have been forced to use much longer routes, south along the coast of Baluchistan, and up through the center of the country as far as the capital, he said.
As workers laid down truckloads of quarried stone to shore up the road, he said it would take six days just to open the roughly 20 miles of road to Jacobabad, since the water was still flowing fast.
Work would really start properly only when the waters had receded, and it would take months longer to repair and reopen the many other smaller roads throughout the district, he said.
Elisabeth Bumiller contributed reporting from Washington.
Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company
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| Ander Nieuws week 36 / Midden-Oosten 2010 |