New ways to supply Afghanistan studied

July 22, 2011 at 6:22 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 22 (UPI) -- The United States is working on new ways to airlift supplies to troops in Afghanistan in case Pakistan were to shut down its supply corridor, a general said.

Gen. William M. Fraser III,, nominated to head the U.S. Transportation Command, told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearings about 35 percent of the cargo for U.S. forces in Afghanistan travels through Pakistan, with the rest coming through northern supply routes.

Fraser leads the Air Force's Air Combat Command and, if confirmed, would succeed Gen. Duncan McNabb at the Transportation Command.

Fraser said there would be disruption if Pakistan were to cut off its supply routes but assured the senators the issue would be resolved.

He said the Transportation Command is working with countries in the Persian Gulf on the "intratheater" airlift program. Under it, ships would deliver cargo to gulf ports and from there intratheater planes would take it to Afghanistan.

The general said he "would delve deeply into that plan to ensure that any disruption that we have is minimal … ."

The Transportation Command, based at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, is responsible for supplying troops in combat and moving military families around the world.

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