News / Middle East

Forces Removing Equipment From Afghanistan Keep Eye on Russian Route

Fears Russia-NATO Tensions Could Disrupt Afghan Withdrawali
X
Henry Ridgwell
May 01, 2014 2:56 PM
International forces in Afghanistan are working through the mammoth task of shipping most of their vehicles and equipment out of the country, as the December 2014 withdrawal deadline approaches. One of the routes being used transits Russia, and there are fears that the growing confrontation between the West and Moscow over Ukraine could severely disrupt NATO's withdrawal plans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Fears Russia-NATO Tensions Could Disrupt Afghan Withdrawal

Henry Ridgwell
How to remove millions of tons of equipment from a landlocked country with primitive infrastructure?
 
That’s the challenge facing international military forces in Afghanistan as they work through the mammoth task of shipping most of their vehicles and equipment out of the country as the December 2014 withdrawal deadline approaches.
 
And there are new fears that a key transport route that transits Russia could be shut down.

The so-called Northern Distribution Network connects Afghanistan overland with ports in the Black Sea, and also with Baltic ports via Central Asia, the Caucasus and Russia.

There are fears that NATO’s deteriorating relations with Russia over its actions in Ukraine could lead to Moscow shutting down the route to the Baltic.

Andrew Foxall, of the British-based think-tank the Henry Jackson Society, said Russian President Vladimir Putin may use this tactic.

“In early April NATO halted all collaboration with Russia and there are suggestions over the last few days that NATO’s offices in Moscow will be closed down. So in that sense, I think it’s increasingly likely that Putin will play this card, the ace in the pack effectively that he has, with regards to NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Foxall said.

The cost of the U.S. withdrawal alone is estimated at $6 to 7 billion. NATO as a whole has already shipped 86,000 vehicles and containers.

Viable alternative routes have allowed the operation to move ahead of schedule, said retired British Brigadier Ben Barry of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“The other route is the land route over the passes from Pakistan down to Karachi and thence by sea. And in addition, many NATO countries have been flying a lot of their heavy equipment out of Afghanistan, usually to a port in the region,” Barry said.

Barry said there are good reasons why Russia would not want to disrupt the route out of Afghanistan.

“The countries that are doing this are paying good, solid Western cash for this,” he said.

But for Putin, economics often comes second to strategy, Foxall said.

“Russia receives about $1 billion a year from NATO for NATO using Russian territory for transit purposes. But as we’ve seen in Ukraine, in Crimea, I don’t necessarily think that the economic costs are high on Putin’s agenda when he’s making these geopolitical calculations,” he said.

Moscow supported the West after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the fear that Afghanistan could again become an exporter of terrorism unites Russia and the West, Barry said.

“In the inner councils of the Russian government, for example in its National Security Council, there will be voices arguing for making sure that security transition in Afghanistan happens as well as it could do because the last thing Russia needs is more instability on another of its borders,” he added.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
April 30, 2014 6:42 PM
There is no need or urgency to remove the military equipment of the US, NATO and the coalition forces from Afghanistan because: (1) the US will be permitted to retain some military bases in Afghanistan by the new government that takes charge in Afghanistan after the elections, (2) how could US and the coalition partners desert Afghanistan taking away all their military equipment from Afghanistan? (3) The transfer of the military equipments to the country of origin, costs more than the military equipments itself, (4) why don't the coalition forces give the Afghanistan the equipment the coalition forces are trying to take away from Afghan soil, (5) if the coalition forces wish to transfer the military equipment from Afghanistan, the best and cheaper alternative is the transportation of such military equipment through Pakistan and shipping to the respective destinations, and (5) Russia will not dare to close the route of transfer of military equipments from Afghanistan by land route, since one billion dollars is still attractive as transit fees for the Russians, (7) What kind of military training was given to Afghans without the privilege of using modern weapons?, and (6) Afghanistan needs these military equipments to defend itself from the expected surge in the Taliban attacks when the coalition forces leave the country. Are the US and the coalition forces using the withdrawal of military equipments from Afghanistan, to force them to depend on retaining the US forces in Afghanistan? It is better to cancel Russian transit fees for shipment of military equipments through their territory and switch to the Pakistan route as punishment for Russian aggression in Crimea and Ukraine.

In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
April 30, 2014 8:59 PM
Davis, -- I agree with you 100% and if the US really wanted to help the Afghans, they'd do as you say. .... REALLY?


by: a from: asd
April 30, 2014 5:28 PM
$7 billion for our withdrawal alone! How about letting the world go to hell. They can pay for their defense if they want to. The U.S. is no longer able to afford a military to run the world, have fun. Let China pay for it, they have a larger economy than the U.S.

In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
April 30, 2014 8:24 PM
The US spends over 640 billion dollars on defense, and has troops stationed all over the world, and interferes in more armed conflicts than any other country, and defends against numerous enemies, real and imagined...
China on the other hand, spends over 188 billion dollars on it's defense of the Chinese motherland, (wherever that may be?), and doesn't involve itself in anybody else's military conflicts?
The wise man said; - The hundreds of billions of tons of used military equipment would be of more use to the Afghan government and military, and it is already outdated and of no use to the US military now..
IF the US was going to train the Afghan military as promised, they'd gave them modern military equipment, (and the refurbished attack helicopters and outdated refurbished fighter planes, they promised?), instead of the used AK-47s and Toyota pickup trucks they've been providing them with?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid