War on Terrorism

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Afghan Supply Line Still Viable Despite Breaches, Pentagon Official Says

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 18, 2008 - As the U.S.
military works to improve security along a supply line that passes through Pakistan en route to Afghanistan, the pathway continues to be a viable means of logistics, a Pentagon official said today. Taliban militants reportedly have torched about 300 trucks laden with supplies, including military vehicles, in five attacks last week alone. But roughly 150 truckloads of supplies continue to traverse the route each day, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said today.

"While we are still evaluating how to not only improve the security along that line, but [also] other lines that we might be able to use, supplies continue to flow on a regular basis through that particular route," he said.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed increasing concern about the supply line in the wake of the Taliban destruction last week.

"I've had a concern about this for months. I mean, even without the incidents, it's a single point of failure for us," he told reporters during a Pentagon news conference Dec. 10.

"Clearly we've engaged heavily with the Pakistanis to ensure the safety there and the ability to move so much of our vital capability through Pakistan to Afghanistan," he said. "And with the increase in incidents, we're all increasingly concerned."

Mullen said the United States has worked to develop alternative logistics options, "so that we're not tied to a single point of failure."

"We've actually made a lot of progress, with respect to that," he said. "I recognized the vulnerability that's there, and I'm confident that ... we'll be able to sustain our effort."

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