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PTI / The Hindu / WASHINGTON, July 22, 2011.
The United States has dramatically reduced its reliability on Pakistani supply routes to Afghanistan to 35 per cent, given the volatile nature of the border areas where a number of NATO suppliers have come under attack.
America’s reliability on Pakistan for supplying goods and arms and ammunition for its troops in Afghanistan has reduced to just 35 per cent, a top Pentagon official told U.S. lawmakers.
This is a considerable achievement given that till recently it was more than 70 per cent and this was considered to be one of the main bargaining points for Pakistan with the United States.
This figure of 35 per cent is expected to come further down in the coming months as the Pentagon is working to increase its supply to Afghanistan through the Northern Distribution network.
“It’s my understanding that approximately 35 per cent moves through the ground, and the other is moving through the Northern Distribution Network, coupled with also lift as we bring in supplies by air,” General William M. Fraser told the Senate Armed Services Committee at his confirmation hearing to be Commander, United States Transportation Command.
The U.S. officials have stated in recent times that they were working on reducing their dependency on the supply routes in Pakistan after a series of attacks on NATO tankers carrying oil and other goods to western forces and Afghanistan.
“If you have to, how long would it take you to make up for that 35 per cent? Suppose tomorrow Pakistan shut off those supply routes.
“How long would it take you to adjust to keep the same level of logistics into Afghanistan?” Ranking Republican Senator John McCain, asked.
Gen. Fraser said if confirmed he would certainly delve deeply into that. “I have not learned the details of that specifically,” he said.
“I have not delved deeply into the plan. I know ongoing planning is happening. I know there would be a disruption. But if confirmed, I would delve deeply into that plan to ensure that any disruption that we have is minimal, to ensure that we continue to provide that effective yet efficient support to the war fighter,” Mr. Fraser said.
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