Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 12, 2009

Afghanistan: Northern Supply Lines Under Attack

Due to the increasing attacks on the supply lines to Afghanistan from the port of Karachi in Pakistan through Quetta to Kandahar and through Peshavar to Kabul, the U.S. looked for new supply lines. These were found in the north.

Back in February Tajikistan and Uzbekistan allowed the U.S. and NATO to transport non-military goods (an oxymoron?) across their borders. The northern routes goes from Latvia at the Baltic sea via rail through Russia and Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and from there to Afghanistan.

Predictably those new supply lines are now coming under attack.


The yellow line is the ring road that connects the major cities of Afghanistan. The blue lines are the eastern supply lines from Karachi through Pakistan. The green lines are he roads from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and the pink routes, so far officially unused (but suspects) for U.S. supplies, are from Iran.

This video from Al Jazeera is about some one hundred Taliban in Kunduz and their attempts to shut down the supply line from Tajikistan. They seem to able to openly operate there even though a reinforced battalion of German troops is stationed in the (quite huge) area.

One Taliban interviewed claims:

"We have got new bombs that explode when tanks get into 20 meter of them. We make them ourselves. They are strong devices and only cost us 40 dollars to put together."

The road war in Afghanistan is not a new phenomenon. Here is a quote from the 1988 piece Ambush! The Road War in Afghanistan:

While geographic and climatic factors together with limited lines of communication (LOCs) combined with early inexperience to produce less than satisfactory logistic performance, it was the frequent, widespread and successful interdiction of supply convoys that most severely constrained logistic support. Effective Mujahedeen use of mines, ambushes, rock slides, fires, bridge demolition and other often innovative interdiction techniques damaged or destroyed convoys and closed roads time after time, including the Salang Pass itself.

As one Soviet source put it, "What surprises the enemy has sprung upon us on these roads." A successful trip from the Soviet border to Kabul became an event to be commemorated and remains so.


Earlier coverage of Afghanistan logistics at MoA:

More Aviation Fuel For Afghanistan, March 17, 2009
An Update On Afghanistan Logistics, March 6, 2009
Iran Should Offer Fuel To DESC, Feb 21, 2009
The New Route Plus Iranian Jet Fuel Supply To Afghanistan, Feb 20, 2009
The Pink Route To Afghanistan, Feb 3, 2009
The Costly New Supply Route To Afghanistan, Jan 26, 2009
New Supply Routes To Afghanistan, Nov 19, 2008
Fuel for War in Afghanistan Aug 20, 2008
The Road War in Afghanistan Aug 16, 2008
Fuel Tanker Attacks in Afghanistan Mar 24, 2008

Posted by b on June 12, 2009 at 19:31 UTC | Permalink


awesome b. check format, you double posted.

Posted by: annie | Jun 12 2009 19:37 utc | 1

Some interesting details of ham-handed diplomacy in the area:

Posted by: biklett | Jun 12 2009 20:11 utc | 2

Hi annie - good to see you back. The double posting was short, simple a mistake. Please let us know of your Gaza experience (email?)

Posted by: b | Jun 12 2009 20:19 utc | 3

The Afghan Presidential election campaign starts this coming Monday.
Karzai clearly has the Godfather Advantage, and hence the US surge,
but it's really a dog-and-pony show, exactly like the US elections.

Most of Afghanistan's natural resources will be auctioned soon, the
bid tenders are being offered right now for iron ore, oil and gas.
Karzai will sign these bid tenders into law before the elections,
and once again, hence the US surge. The US has a backup plan, also.

The chief contender to Karzai is Ashraf Ghani, running with Abdullah
Abdullah, both expatriate intelligentsia apparatchiks. Ghani worked
at the same World Bank that wrote the Hydrocarbon Law and Mineral Law
which Karzai was selected to execute, which legalizes resource theft.

So even if Karzai loses, Ghani will win. US:UK has covered their bases.
And as far as Russian thugs in Kyrgyzstan, Karzai thugs are murdering
and beating Afghan journalists the same way, but without news coverage.
It's our 'War Against Those Who Would Do US Harm'™ that twists the truth.

But Afghanistan's 1.6B barrels of oil would provide enough fuel energy
for 100 years, if Afghans built a refinery and nationalized their oil.
With that energy security, Afghans could rebuild their Garden of Eden.

So we have the delicious irony of US:ISAF troops in harms way,
fighting a Taliban 'enemy' created by the CIA:ISI, acknowledged by Zardari,
while all Afghanistan's strategic resources are being shucked for pennies,
which will leave Afghanistan a 'narcomafia' shambles, which is allegedly
why we are there in the first place
, at least that's the official meme.

That 100 years of fuel energy for Afghanistan, would last US just 60 days,
then we'll have to broom another oil-bearing geological deposit, using the
Gift of Adolf that just keeps on giving and giving, 'internal displacement'.

USA is Greater Israel now. Bigger picture, Britain drew the Durand Line as
a neutral zone, against depredations from Afghan warlords preying on the East
Indian Empire. Afghanistan's ruler unwisely collaborated to that no man's land,
after all, Brits were paying the emir an annual stipend, the first baaksheesh.
With the creation of Pakistan in 1947, those lands divided by Durand, Pashtun
NW Territories and Balochistan, became defacto, but not dejure, Pakistan's.

In a sense, the Punjabi's of Palestine are like the Zionists of Israel,
having acquired these 'occupied territories', they have no intention of
removing their settlements, and no compunction against Pashtun genocide.

There are more Pashtun refugees now than all the Jews made refugees in WW2.
US (yawn) Jewish controlled media (yawn) doesn't seem to concerned about it,
after all, they own the copyright on Holocaust™. Relax, have some schmeer!

Gaza or Ghazni, it will all be over in a NY augenblik.

Posted by: Blik Blik | Jun 12 2009 21:09 utc | 4

Pentagon news report:
NATO Ministers Agree About New Afghanistan Approach

Afghanistan dominated the discussions at the two-day NATO defense ministers conference in Belgium, and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said they are pleased with the results.

The NATO ministers have approved in principle establishing a new military headquarters for ISAF to oversee day-to-day tactical operations.

“The logic is clear, … because the mission in Afghanistan has now grown to more than 60,000 forces, and it will keep growing,” de Hoop Scheffer said. Noting the need for cooperation among ISAF, the Afghan security forces, aid donors and other international entities, the secretary general said the commander of ISAF cannot handle all of the international coordination and devote enough attention to day-to-day military operations. American officials have nominated Army Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez to fill the job.

The new command will report to a new ISAF commander. Army Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal stopped here on his way to Afghanistan, where he will take command of ISAF U.S. Forces Afghanistan tomorrow. “This morning, I introduced General Stan McChrystal to the ministers,” Gates said. “We all look forward to working with him as he brings fresh thinking and unparalleled energy and determination to Kabul.”

The logic is clear -- McChrystal's "fresh thinking and unparalleled energy" will be used on "international coordination" while his lieutenant handles the "day-to-day military operations." I'm sure the Afghan resistance is trembling at this "New Afghanistan Approach."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 13 2009 3:50 utc | 5

i will be back on monday b. posting from a hostel. yesterday we protested the wall in bilin, west bank. first tear gassing. in belly of the beast at present.

Posted by: annie | Jun 13 2009 5:46 utc | 6

I've read that the Happy Little Kingdom of Denmark has lost more soldiers (per capita) in Farawaystan than any of the other neo-colonization forces.

But as the present Defense(!?) Minister puts it, these sacrifices are necessary to "protect our national interests" and (yawn) "keep us safe from terrorism..."

Geeze, does nothing ever change, except the names?

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Jun 13 2009 5:49 utc | 7

@annie @6 yesterday we protested the wall in bilin, west bank. first tear gassing.

Yep - you made news: Israelis attack 'Apartheid Wall' protesters

Israeli army forces have attacked dozens of Palestinian and international peace activists protesting the 'Apartheid Wall' in the West Bank.

Israeli soldiers raided Palestinian and international peace activists during the weekly non-violent protest against the wall in Ni'lin village, west of Ramallah, and in Bil'in village, close to the central West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday.

Two protesters were injured in Bil'in and dozens suffered from gas inhalation in the villages.

Residents of Bil'in and their international and Israeli supporters were joined by 40 members of the American group Code Pink: Women for Peace.

Posted by: b | Jun 13 2009 11:12 utc | 8

b, your link doesn't go to the story. Has the news cycle moved on?

Posted by: beq | Jun 13 2009 11:56 utc | 9

Nevermind. Worked the 2nd time.

Posted by: beq | Jun 13 2009 11:57 utc | 10


Renewable Afghanistan

How Afghanistan's Energy Independence is being stolen by the West

It was 1989, and the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan had collapsed
under withering US CIA and Pakistan ISI support for Afghan resistance
groups, the northern alliance of CIA-sponsored mujahideen, and the
southern madrassah-inspired and ISI-sponsored Taliban.

Then, suddenly, the Cold War was over! What followed for Afghanistan
was a decade of civil war between the two groups, mujahideen warlords
and Taliban clerics, violently vying for power over the Afghan people.

During that period, when millions of Afghans died or were internally
displaced, the US turned away, obsessed with Bosnia-Herzegovina and
that destructive investment bubble, which came to be dubbed ''.

Taliban, who in the end ousted the mujahideen, discovered in Kabul
old geological surveys left behind by the retreating Soviets, and
found to their surprise and delight that Afghanistan was the richest
country in Central Asia, in terms of vast natural resource deposits.

The Soviets had indeed surveyed world-class iron, copper, bauxite and
oil and gas deposits. Taliban envoys met US brokers in the late 1990's
and in early 2000 after Bush was elected, to discuss oil development.
Bush however took the hard line, demanding oil and gas development
concessions for the US, telling Taliban leaders in Kabul, "either you
accept our carpet of gold, or we will bury you under a carpet of bombs."

The response was 9/11. From that point on, the opportunity for the
Afghan people to realize an economically renewable future vanished.

Even as the US pre-emptive assault pounded away at Tora Bora in
search, the story went, for Osama bin Laden, CIA forces in Kabul
seized and transferred to US those old Soviet geological reports.

Even before a pre-emptive War on Iraq was a glimmer in Bush's eye,
the Cheney Energy Policy administration was working with World Bank
to craft Hydrocarbon Law and Minerals Law contracts for Afghanistan.
Natural resources belonging to Afghan people would simply be stolen.

In order to perfect these laws and enact them, the Cheney Energy Policy
team needed an executor. They suggested a Republican executive form of
government for Afghanistan, rather than a Parliamentary system, and they
pulled from their contacts Hamid Karzai, Afghan expatriate and former
advisor to Unocal, an American company interested in Afghan oil and gas.

Cheney's group nominated Karzai as interim leader of Afghanistan to hold
down the fort, then after a duly publicized and carefully choreographed
"democratic" election in 2002, barely a year after Tora Bora, Karzai was
elected by secret vote in a Loya Jirga assembly as President of Afghanistan.
This is all in the historical record, now being glossed over by the West.

One of Karzai's first official acts as Republican executive, was to sign
the World Bank written Hydrocarbon Law and Minerals Law, without debate,
without fanfare, and certainly, without publicity. World class reserves
of natural resources that belonged to Afghan people had been co-opted.

Then a funny thing happened. In November, 2007, four years after Bush's
'Mission Accomplished' had siphoned half a trillion dollars out of the
US Treasury, the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Heavy Industries issued
tender offers then awarded the $100Bs copper mine concessions at Aynak
to the China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) for $3B award payment,
and $400M a year in royalties over the thirty year term of development.

That set the lease terms precedent written by the World Bank. $100Bs in
resource value, traded away for about $15B, all told, somewhere around
5 percent to 6 percent of the current value. This compares to royalties
in the West, requiring 45 percent compensation in the US, to 65 percent
in Canada and EU, and even higher in the so-called 'leftist' countries.

But ink was barely dry on the China encroachment into US security space
before the Cheney Energy Policy team began drumming for a new 'surge'
in Afghanistan, a strategy which Obama adopted whole-heartedly after the
2008 elections. The country US had virtually abandoned for a second time
was now a Second Front in the Global War of Terror, according to Clinton.

There was a catch in the China lease. They had to begin operations within
four years (2012) or the lease would revert back to the Afghan government!

With a quick flip of the switch, the careful and deliberate strategy of
counterintelligence and reconstruction being crafted by OEF-A before the
China lease has now been thrown out for one of "clear and hold" under a
US surge of Marine Expeditionary Forces being redeployed from Iraq.

At the same time, in a two-pronged plan of expanding unrest, their GWOT
was rebranded into 'Afghanistan-Pakistan', following defeat of long-term
Pakistan military ruler Mussharaf in late 2008 elections which brought
billionaire businessman President Zardari to power.

Who are 'Those Who Would Do US Harm' in Afghanistan? Taliban clerics!?
Zardari's and Obama's first official act was to create 3M refugees in
Swat, Pakistan and heat up the Afghanistan war to where China can no
longer hope to make good on their copper development, not before 2012.

The war of occupation in Afghanistan is clearly a natural resource war.
As Karzai's first term in office came to an end in May, the Afghan
Supreme Court extended his term to August in an unprecedented move.
At the same time, US advisor Gustavson Associates issued tenders for
the iron ore reserves, and the oil and gas deposits.

Right now, as our media is dominated with the humanitarian crisis in Swat,
and the US military news is dominated by 'clear and hold,' Fallujah style,
extended-term-by-edict Karzai is preparing to sign away almost a trillion
dollars worth of Afghan natural resources, for mere pennies on the dollar.

Here's how it would work. The national government in Kabul has now swollen
to nearly a billion dollar a year bureaucracy, according to foreign observers.
Royalties from the iron concession, copper concession and oil and gas leases
will amount to little more than a billion dollars per year, just enough to
support the national government, and pay interest-only on the loans made to
Afghanistan by IMF and the World Bank.

Horrifyingly tidy and efficient, when you think about it, everything neatly
signed into law, protected by US occupation forces, extracted at just those
royalties necessary to keep the national government and militia in power, and
leave the Afghan people in thirty years another destitute, resource stripped
failed narcostate. 1,000 of American military will die to make it happen.

Or, the Afghan people can take a different path, one with a renewable future.

IEA estimates Pakistan uses 345,000 barrels of oil per day. Afghanistan has
about 1/10th the population of Pakistan, so it's reasonable to expect that
Afghanistan would consume only 40,000 barrels of oil per day. USGS estimates
there are 1.6 billion barrels of oil underneath Afghanstan's sands, enough
oil for Afghan people to achieve energy independence for the next 100 years.

With energy independence, and humanitarian reconstruction aid for the war
damage foisted on them by the world super-powers, the Afghan people could
rebuild their Garden of Eden themselves, and become an exporting powerhouse.
All it would take is design and construction of a 50,000 barrel per day oil
refinery in Afghanistan, and taking the oil and gas sale off the table now.

Make Oil Company of Lebanon was to start building a $3 billion, 250,000 b/d
refinery in Kurdistan in 2006, and Make Oil Company bid for a $2.2 billion,
150,000 b/d refinery in Iraq. Then a 50,000 b/d refinery in Afghanistan would
cost about $1 billion, over three years, easily paid for by the $800 million
a year royalties from the Afghan copper and iron mining concessions.

Did global policy planners at IMF and World Bank even consider this option?
Of course not. Western 'humanitarian' policy requires dependent clients, they
need 'failed states,' that can only be fixed with more US:EU taxpayer dollars.

It's just business, get over it! Now let's get that oil concession signed!!

Release the bulldozers!!!!

Posted by: The Logic Is Clear™ | Jun 13 2009 17:08 utc | 11

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