Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 24, 2008

Fuel Tanker Attacks in Afghanistan

Cloned Poster rightly says that this current news is 'big':

Up to 65 people were injured when Islamic militants in a Pakistani border town blew up dozens of tankers supplying fuel for US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, officials said today.

The rebels late yesterday destroyed 36 tankers which were parked in Landikotal, the main town of the troubled Khyber tribal district where Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked insurgents have carried out a series of attacks.
It was one of the worst attacks of its kind since June last year, when militants blew up at least 13 oil tankers supplying fuel to US bases in eastern and southern Afghanistan.

Such attacks on fuel supply usually do not make it into the 'western' news. They have happened since the U.S. invasion started but currently seem to be more frequent. This could be a concerted Taliban operation to strangle the occupation.

Dec 18, 2007: Afghan security guards 'ambushed'

At least 15 Afghan security guards working for a US firm have been killed in an ambush by Taleban militants in western Afghanistan, police say. They say that nine other guards - responsible for protecting a convoy of fuel tankers driving through the area - were injured in the attack.

February 2, 2008: Oil tankers torched, drivers taken hostage

Suspected Taliban insurgents set alight two oil tankers supplying fuel to US-led coalition forces in the restive eastern province of Kunar, a police chief said on Friday.

March 10, 2008: Oil tanker ‘blown up’ in Landi Kotal

LANDI KOTAL: Militants blew up an oil tanker with dynamite on Sunday, but the political administration said the tanker was safe. The tanker, which was to carry fuel to Afghanistan, was parked near the Michini checkpost.

March 18, 2008: Pakistan: Bomb Hits Afghan-Bound Truck

Pakistan's state news agency says a roadside bomb has struck an oil tanker carrying fuel for U.S.-led coalition forces in neighboring Afghanistan. No one was hurt.

The U.S. and other forces in Afghanistan need some 600,000-700,000 gallons of fuel per day. They have storage capacity for about 8 million gallons, reserves for at least ten days (pdf). 80% of the fuel needed is carried by hundreds of road tankers from three Pakistan refineries. 

The Taliban step up the campaign has two effects. Attacks on fuel tankers do hurt the occupation forces in Afghanistan. But they also put another serious burdon on Pakistan which lacks refining capacity.

Posted by b on March 24, 2008 at 14:07 UTC | Permalink


Meanwhile, America's Infrastructure Report Card .

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 24 2008 14:27 utc | 1

I can't find the link now, but the origial tanker story this morning stated that 60 tankers were damaged in the blasts, of which 37 were totally destroyed. The newer stories aren't mentioning the damaged trucks at all, just the completely destroyed ones. But I suspect one would be correct if they said that there are 60 less tankers on the road in Afghanistan today.

Posted by: Ensley | Mar 24 2008 15:20 utc | 2

Can't we just build a pipeline?

Posted by: ralphieboy | Mar 24 2008 15:33 utc | 3

Can't we just build a pipeline?

The US wanted to build a trans-Afghan pipeline, but the Taliban govt turned it down a month or two before 9/11. Now that we are occupying the country and the Taliban is no longer the official govt, the pipeline is being built, I believe.

Makes you wonder if bin Laden was actually in Afghanistan to begin with. Really convenient excuse for the US to attack and get their pipeline.

Posted by: Ensley | Mar 24 2008 15:42 utc | 4

re: #1
if i had such grades in school i'd have serious problems at home

the security grade is quite curious: not assigned in 2001, and incomplete in 2005...
in most of the topics there has been a decrease...
one wonders "will there be a surge in 2009?"

re: pipeline there any security assurance for such infrastructure?

Posted by: rudolf | Mar 24 2008 15:53 utc | 5

interesting, cui bono, market forces self. A fuel and your money are soon harder to get.

Posted by: plushtown | Mar 24 2008 16:18 utc | 6

Building a pipeline would be no problem, we'd just need one marine for every 50 feet of pipeline to guard it.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Mar 24 2008 18:28 utc | 7

This is indeed a big story. NATO's lack of secure supply lines in Pakistan will have interesting geopolitical knock-on effects. The U.S. and Nato in Afghanistan may turn for help to .....Russia! The ever-astute Putin has offered Nato an alternative supply route: a land corridor through Uzbekistan. What he wants in return seems eminently reasonable but will the U.S. agree? See M.J. Bhadrakumar in the March 15, 2008 issue of Asia Times Online.

Posted by: russophile | Mar 24 2008 19:23 utc | 8

A link for the piece russophile offers.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has also separately signaled Russia's readiness to provide military transit to Afghanistan for NATO provided "an agreement is concluded on all aspects of the Afghan problem between NATO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization [CSTO]". Significantly, Lavrov was speaking immediately after the 7th session of the Russian-French Cooperation Council on Security Issues in Paris on Tuesday. He asserted that "most NATO members, including France", favor Moscow's idea of a NATO-CSTO cooperative framework over Afghanistan. Lavrov all but suggested that Washington was blocking such cooperation between NATO and the Russian-led CSTO.
What worries the US is that any such link up between NATO and CSTO and SCO would undermine its "containment" policy toward Russia (and China), apart from jeopardizing the US global strategy of projecting NATO as a political organization on the world arena.

The most damaging part is that Russia-NATO cooperation will inevitably strengthen Russia's ties with European countries and that, in turn, would weaken the US's trans-Atlantic leadership role in the 21st century.

Posted by: b | Mar 24 2008 19:39 utc | 9

I wonder if you can fit a tanker inside a C-5 Galaxy.

Posted by: swio | Mar 24 2008 22:47 utc | 10

apparently, a C-5 Galaxy could carry four tankers

obviously, a pipeline trough Uzbekistan would only feed Europe oil needs...

Posted by: rudolf | Mar 25 2008 1:25 utc | 11

Jerome repeatedly has explained why no (gas) pipeline will be built as long as the land lacks stability. Short version (as I recall it): Huge investment, easy to wreck. And if it does not work all the way, it does not work at all.

So I would guess there is not a pipeline in construction.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Mar 25 2008 2:10 utc | 12

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