There’s a saying in military circles that “Captains study tactics; Generals study logistics” meaning that the best troops and tactics in the world cannot prevail without the proper supplies.
I’ve been saying for some time that one reason for our smaller footprint in Afghanistan was due to necessity. This is because Afghanistan is a landlocked country and, while somethings can be airlifted in, most supplies have to come from ports in Pakistan. The other possibility would be Iran, but that is out of the question for obvious reasons.
Now, it looks like al-Qaeda and the Taliban have notice the same thing.
Asia Times Online :: South Asia news, business and economy from India and Pakistan
KARACHI – The Taliban and their al-Qaeda associates, in what they considered a master stroke, this year started to target the Western alliance’s supply lines that run through Pakistan into Afghanistan.
Their focal point was Khyber Agency, in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, a key transit point for as much as 70% of the alliance’s supplies needed to maintain its battle against the Afghan insurgency.
The spectacular blowing up on March 20 of 40 gas tankers at Torkham – the border crossing in Khyber Agency into Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province – sent shock waves through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led (NATO) coalition. So much so that it made a deal for some supplies to transit through Russia, a much more arduous route.
But NATO and the CIA,have not been idle either.
They have learned the customs and language of the area. That would be bribery and treachery.
The next time the Taliban cam calling, there was a surprise waiting for them.
Al-Qaeda and the Taliban immediately called an emergency shura in North Waziristan to review the situation. Al-Qaeda’s investigations revealed that the CIA and Pakistani intelligence had got to Namdar and paid him $150,000 in local currency.The immediate result is that Taliban operations in Khyber Agency have been cut off. This in itself is a major setback, as the attacks on supply lines had hit a raw NATO nerve.
In the broader context, Namdar’s betrayal vividly illustrates the dangers of traitors within the ranks of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The fear is that the various peace deals being signed now between the Islamabad government and selected tribal leaders could lead to a whole new batch of betrayals.
A word of caution though. Turning coats is an ancient custom in these parts. Just because someone supported us this time doesn’t necessarily mean he will next time.
Bribery and treachery can work both ways.