US to Expand Routes Into Afghanistan

Safer roads will depend on cooperation of Central Asian nations
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2008 9:40 AM CST
Trucks carrying materials for US and NATO troops drive on a highway in Surobi, east of Kabul, Afghanistan on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
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(Newser) – More than four-fifths of the supplies for allied troops in Afghanistan travel via Pakistan along a treacherous route, prompting the US to plan new supply lines in the embattled region. The fragility of the current setup was laid bare after a Pakistani counter-militant offensive shut down the Khyber Pass yesterday, the New York Times reports.

But cartography alone won't cut it: Alternative routes would depend heavily on the cooperation of Russia and authoritarian countries like Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The US- and NATO-led supply lines won't include weapons, and officials have promised that the routes would not require new American bases. "These countries of Central Asia recognize that this is their struggle, too," an official says.
(Read more NATO stories.)