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Afpak strategy: build and defend Afghan supply lines

OK as every general will tell you, poorly defended supply lines are a problem in any war.

House subcommittee on National Security and Foreign affairs chairman, Rep. John F. Tierney, D-Mass -

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New Afghanistan railway helps Afpak strategy

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Afghanistan to complete first railway by end of year Telegraph.co.uk

Afghanistan will complete its first ever railway by the end of the year, providing a potential new supply route for Nato forces whose convoys are being harried in Pakistan.

The 47-mile route will link the trading city of Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan to Asia’s extensive rail network.

The £110 million railway project funded by the Asian Development Bank has already laid 20 miles of track through desert from Hairatan on the Uzbek border the deputy minister for public works said.

Developing a railway network for Afghanistan is an obvious move to develop and to secure the less mountainous areas of the country in the first place anyway. Trains are ideal on the flat – not so good in mountains though where they need expensive tunnels and vulnerable bridges.

So it is excellent to see a start has finally been made to Afghanistan’s first 75-km stretch of commercial railway.

Al Qaeda hate trains and have attacked trains often – the London Underground on 7/7 in 2005 and the Mumbai train station in 2008 to name just two examples. So I hope NATO/ISAF are prepared to defend the trains, right?

Tierney’s report shows how vulnerable our military supply routes are to and in Afghanistan and whether it is road or rail we need our supply lines properly defended by loyal troops and/or transport police otherwise our source of strength becomes a source of weakness.

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