U.S. seeks alternate Afghan supply route

Sept. 23, 2008 at 7:55 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- The U.S. Defense Department is seeking to develop alternative supply lines to bring military equipment and fuel into Afghanistan, a military official said.

Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Pentagon was testing alternative routes should Pakistan prevent the U.S. military from using supply routes into Afghanistan, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the United States relies on Pakistani supply routes for 80 percent of the cargo and 40 percent of the fuel brought into Afghanistan.

Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Cartwright said it would be "challenging to sustain our presence" without Pakistani logistical support.

This month, Pakistani Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar reportedly said his country blocked a fuel supply route because of a U.S.-led special operations raid inside Pakistan.

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