While the US is distracted at home by warmongering politicians competing for the Republican nomination and Israeli-neocon warmongering for launching a new war against Iran, a crisis may be metastasizing in cancer that is Afghanistan.
Below is a report in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn that describes the logistics bottleneck in the port of Karachi caused by Pakistan’s closure of the Nato’s crucial southern supply route.
There are three logistics routes to sending supplies into Afghanistan: one by air and two by land. Air is too expensive and of limited carrying capacity. The least costly route is the long vulnerable highway net thru Pakistan — this is the southern route (top map) that has been shut down as described below. The northern route (lower map) is much longer going from either the Baltic or the Black Seas and is dependent on the good will of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. According to the AP, The northern route at $104 million per month in total cost is at least six times as expensive as the southern route.
The AP report contained no information on the cost per ton, but that factor is likely to be much higher that six-to-one, because prior to the closure (as of last June), about 50% of Nato’s total supply requirement was was flowing through the southern route, with the other 50% being divided between the norther route and the air route.]
Dawn [Pk], 26 Jan 2012
KARACHI: Two months into Pakistan’s blockade on Nato supplies crossing into Afghanistan, thousands of trucks are crowding the port in Karachi where drivers, fed up with waiting, are starting to desert.
Chuck Spinney’s Graphics from BBC & European Institute: