Moving gear difficult in Afghan withdrawal

Feb. 15, 2013 at 8:56 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Carrying out the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will be difficult, with an immense amount of equipment to be moved and no nearby seaport, a general said.

President Obama ordered that the U.S. Afghan contingent is to be cut by half over the next year and troops can be flown home, but large pieces of equipment must go by sea, The New York Times reported Thursday.

"Afghanistan is not Iraq, and it's harder," said Lt. Gen. Raymond V. Mason, the Army's deputy chief of staff for logistics. "Number 1, it's landlocked. And we have no Kuwait. We have no 'catcher's mitt,' no shock-absorber. In Iraq, on the last day, you could still send stuff across the border into Kuwait, and absorb it there."

In Afghanistan, the closest route to a seaport is through Pakistan, where tensions are high and border crossings are unreliable, the Times said.

The military needs to remove 600,000 pieces of equipment, valued at $28 billion, from the country, the Times reported.

Officials also need to determine where the equipment is going, and not all of it will be reused, the report said.

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