2014 Withdrawal Logistics  - Afghanistan

2014 Withdrawal Logistics

Posted by Aneela Shahzad on

2014 Withdrawal Logistics - Exiting the Elephant from the Needle Hole

As the exit of the US/NATO forces comes to nearing, the real-time situation behind all the propaganda portraying the US mission to be noble and successful, all this time, is becoming evident by the day.

11 years of unjust occupation, with the help of a multi-tech army, consuming supplies of over 100,000 containers, which have always been on the move with refills, several times in a month, and no results! Only the vehicles that the US wants to bring out of Afghanistan are about 50,000, when the number of vehicles that have been destroyed or have to be trashed in the desolate Afghan tracks seems to be unaccounted for. All this for an average presence of 100,000 ISAF personnel and what was this huge cyber-tech army against all this time, an estimate of 25,000 barely armed Taliban.

Now that the armies are retreating and many contributing nations have pulled their men back, how will we measure the success of the NATO mission if not by the ‘degree of command’ they have on the terms and conditions of the withdrawal. The Afghan National Army, which was supposed to puppet for the US, once they were not there, has turn over their blue masters green, it is being speculated as an army ‘not ready to take up with the security of the country’, and has been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of its trainers. The Afghan National Army is 185,000 strong, but still not strong enough to secure the country; what is the ingredient it lacks, which make it vulnerable to the scarcely numbered, lightly armed tribesmen of the bare mountains? Perhaps it is the belief one has in the nobility of the cause he is serving and the courage that believing in one’s self brings.

At their withdrawal the Alliance is probably going the leave the mess of an uncultured democracy bursting with all possible corruptions bureaucracy is capable of; insecure, badly administered, crime-infested city areas; unstable, vulnerable rural masses; an unsatisfied Taliban; and tons and tons of waste all over the face of Afghanistan, giving a picture of a torn-off people and their country.

It can be expected of an absconding army that they will try to run away with what they can, uninterested in the conditions they will be leaving behind, as they are no longer going to stay here; conditions that were never so good anyways and have potential to come to a point of explosion, like a ticking time-bomb, if the only they leave with an un-resolved Kabul-Taliban deal. But what does this mess really look like, in logistic terms, is a vital analysis for those who want to understand the real-time win-lose situation resultant of the Afgan/US war.

A report at McClatchy said: ‘Planners were working to meet the U.S. military’s goal of shipping back 1,200 vehicles and 1,000 containers of equipment each month. The estimated value of all the vehicles and aircraft in Afghanistan is $42 billion… the moving plans are carried out by 2,200 soldiers and more than 1,000 contractors.’ (Source)

Another report in NYT said: ‘The United States has spent nearly 600 billion over the past 10 years putting combat forces into Afghanistan. Now it’s going to cost an additional 5.7 billion over the next year or two just to transfer or return most of the troops and equipment… the Defense Department estimates that the military services have more than 750,000 major items worth more than 36 billion in Afghanistan, including about 50,000 vehicles and more than 90,000 shipping containers of materiel… In all, officials estimate, they will have to wrangle 100,000 shipping containers of material and 45,000 to 50,000 vehicles like tanks and Humvees from all across Afghanistan.’ (Source)

The question to be raised here is; what has these 600billion of coming in and a 5 to 10billion of going out accomplished for the US/NATO alliance or for the Afghanis except blood, waste and ruin, more disbelief in Democracy and a degraded sense of humanity. And the Global-Village should ask, for what purpose so much resource, belonging to the earth and its occupants, is being used; to devastate its own creatures and to ruin its own face. Has it not been all expenses and no product in return.

The same report said, ‘In the southwest, the number of coalition bases is falling to about 70 from 214 in March. Out at Delaram II… troops were pulling up the airfield… (the Marine) rip(ed) up the 5,412-foot-long area of hard matting, working at night under floodlights to avoid the pounding heat of the day. Piles of ripped-up mats dotted the camp, and around its edges, bulldozers built a smaller perimeter inside the old four-mile-long fence’… ‘(That) big air control tower (has to go too).’

It is clear from such reports that the Alliance will not only leave piles of used waste, debris of hundreds of burnt, rusting vehicles and aircrafts haunting passer-bys along dirt-track roads and hundreds of acres-wide torn-down bases, but that the Allies will also destroy most of the infrastructure they had built, so that the next rulers of Afghanistan will not be able to benefit from it. So much so for those who came with the slogan of ‘delivering the bliss of democracy’ to this land.

All the routes the retreating forces will use for logistical return have their own menaces; the Pakistan route, though re-opened, is shrouded by an un-friendly public opinion of the natives, who consider the US occupation the root-cause of terrorist activities in their land and therefore NATO containers are always faced with the danger of being attacked, burnt or dislocated when passing through this route.

Apart from the 2.5 times more amount the Alliance will have to pay on each passing container along the Northern routes, a report, disclosing the resentment in the western circles upon the alternate Northern Distribution Network route (NDN) and the complications they face with the countries possessing those routes explains: ‘Uzbekistan’s recent withdrawal from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) stems largely from President Karimov’s desire to position Uzbekistan as an independent, and most importantly, the leading player in the logistics of the northern supply route. Tajik President Imomali Rahmon’s delay in signing a treaty on the presence of Russian military bases in Tajikistan also stems from his desire to obtain finances and hardware via an NDN transit deal… due to the fact that the route runs through Russia. If needed, Moscow could use the NDN as a foreign policy tool to exert pressure on the United States and the Atlantic Alliance.’

Such reports pronounce the difficulties this white elephant, hastened into bizarre circumstances, faces in getting out of them. Surely the ways out have been dwarfed in the same time the US was busy pumping in more supplies to its growing monster of an army. In this war of terror the only real friend the US has made is India, due to its ‘enemy of my enemy’ position; and it has won only the enmity and despise of the Afghans, the Pakistanis and the Iranians, whereas the Central Asian countries were always under Russian influence.

From the prospective of the US, the state-of-the-art technical supplies that the US brought in cannot be left behind to a country they never aimed to build as an independent, progressive, democratic entity, able to stand up on its own feet; so, despite Karzai’s appeals to lend him some of the weaponry, there is no question in their mind that they will even dream of lacing the Afghan force with the technology they possess, even though it was already there. They would rather destroy it than to hand it over to Karzai or anyone of the Afghanis; were we forgetting: wars are not for spreading love and harmony, they are meant for the opposite reasons.

The mere logistics of this huge war machine, at the end of the US/NATO bravado fiasco, is enough to make the elephant lean to its keens; hence the reversion to negotiations with Pakistan and the Talibans.