Amidst growing skepticism about Pakistan’s resolve to tackle terrorism and support US efforts in the war in Afghanistan, a top Pentagon official has declared that there are alternative routes that can be used to supply troops in Afghanistan.
We're confident that we're not dependent upon any particular single thread, and we can continue to supply the Afghanistan effort, Ashton Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told Reuters.
The recent killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by a U.S. commando raid in Abbottabad ahs not only strained relations between Islamabad and Washington, but has also raised worries about using land routes through Pakistan as a conduit to supplying western soldiers in land-locked Afghanistan.
However, Carter noted that the U.S. military has always had back-up plans to send supplies to American troops in Afghanistan, citing, for example, that they devised alternate routes during the floods that devastated Pakistan last year.
You've seen when the volcano hit, when the floods in Pakistan hit, when Haiti happened, that our logistics system was resilient enough and had enough diversity that we could shift load from one mode to another, he said.
Meanwhile, the war of words between the US and its erstwhile ally Pakistan has only intensified.
After US President Barack Obama said over the weekend that someone in Pakistan was complicit in protecting bin Laden all these years, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told Parliament that such accusations are “absurd.”
Gilani also said that his government would react will full force if the U.S. took another unilateral military campaign on Pakistani soil without the approval of Islamabad.