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20 September 2010

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charlie

Guess who drives all those truck in Pakistan?

J

Colonel,

Items that stood out in the article:
"American forces alone reportedly require a million gallons of fuel per day and all of it has to be trucked into Afghanistan. .... 2010: An American Army Division needs in excess of 3,000 tons of supplies per day . .....[Gen. P] needs to take revolutionary steps to reduce the logistics needs of NATO and American forces. This includes

**eliminating all private contractors, and
**removing equipment and troops that are duplicative and unnecessary.
** military needs to be relatively self-sufficient.
**needs to have contingency plans which will permit Western forces to operate for up to 90 days based on only air resupply.
**needs to consider a new deployment strategy for his surged forces by reducing his footprint in Afghanistan during the winter months. 30,000+ troops should be withdrawn by November and returned to Afghanistan in late spring to deal with any new Taliban offensive. There is no reason to winter-over all of these forces.

Question is, will those at DOD who by chance read your blog and your words of wisdom ponder the dire logistical nightmare they have at the edge of the cliff just waiting for the ground to crumble underneath it, OR will they heed your advice and this particular article? I fear that DOD have shut their eyes and have closed their ears to the dire warnings & portends of their created Afghanistan logistical nightmare.

Cold War Zoomie

After reading the article, it is so difficult to pinpoint how we have found ourselves in this mess. We seem to be held hostage to some hyper-nationalistic group think where we must openly project power in order to be "respected" in the world while our corporate media limps along with some delusional belief that it is more important to describe the news as a toxic mix of Opera Buffa and World Wide Wrestling rather than educate the public with the truth.

Then there are the problems of having an all volunteer force which results in putting the most burden of fighting wars on a tiny minority of Americans, with all the "incentives" required for recruitment and morale.

Add to the mix a dismal educational system, a dysfunctional political system where one side is stark raving loony and the other side is nothing more than a gaggle of Casper Milquetoasts, and a general public that elevates celebritology above all else.

Here endeth the rant.

shanks

The moonofalabama website drew attention to the long supply lines issues a few years ago. Long and short of it, supply lines are dependent on the kindness of strangers.

it puzzles me, why the Taliban or the ISI have not tried a variation of this.

http://www.snopes.com/horrors/poison/tylenol.asp

Even a simple thing as dissolving sugar in the petrol carried in road tankers would help sieze the tanks and jeeps.

And there is food, rations and other supplies. bouncing betties, pressure sensitive explosives and stuff hidden in TEUs....

Even if they did 1 in 50, they could effectively slow down supply without getting into firefights. one pliant driver in 50, is all they need if the last estimate was what, 400 trucks/day for supply to A'stan?

R Whitman

The average 40ft shipping container nets out at 60000 lbs max(30 short tons). 3000 tons/day/division means 700 containers a week for one division. Assume 5 division equivalents in Afganistan and you need 3500 containers a week. To handle this you need at least 2000 18 wheel cab/chasis and drivers, and 10000+ loaders, unloaders, fork lift drivers, mechanics, etc all of whom need food, shelter and protection from the Taliban.

How much of our forces are used for protection and how much for actual combat?

samuelburke

Let's just hope that our leaders decide to bring our warriors home.

it's much safer over here than over there.

we don't need to fight them over there so as not to have to fight them over here, we just need to come home.

par4

Was the 7th cavalry the last army lost in the field? I'm sure The Taliban (and Al qaeda) have considered this before and are worried what the response might be.

Patrick Lang

par4

The 7th Cavalry REGIMENT was hardly an army and it was not wiped out at the Little Big Horn. Get a grip.

And just what would we do in retaliation that we are not doing? pl

Patrick Lang

rwhitman

We pay protection money to the tribes and Taliban through our Afghan government connected transportation contractors.

That way we don't have to use scarce troops for convoy protection.

Clever, eh? pl

Patrick Lang

All

As someone pointed out, you don't have to stop all the trucks or even kill many drivers. What you have to do in a situation like this is make driving unprofitable. pl

dan of steele
Question is, will those at DOD who by chance read your blog and your words of wisdom ponder the dire logistical nightmare they have at the edge of the cliff just waiting for the ground to crumble underneath it, OR will they heed your advice and this particular article?

The folks who have to worry about getting food and fuel into Afghanistan are not the ones who decided we would be there in the first place. The loggies and operators who are tasked with carrying out the mission (whatever it is) are doing quite a good job. The troops are well fed, with entertainment, good medical care, and are relatively safe in a very dangerous land.

And paying protection money to get your convoys through may seem without honor, but if that is the way things work and it turns out to be cheaper, why fight it? we have all seen the stagecoach get robbed in the old westerns. even those armed with gatling guns.

jonst

While I am concerned about this scenario, concerned for our military, concerned for our nation, I am less concerned than I am about what forces/money/effort will be brought to bear to prevent this? Because that seems to me to raise the possibility of doubling (or more) the stakes of a bad, bad, 'bet'.

Thomas

"We pay protection money to the tribes and Taliban through our Afghan government connected transportation contractors. "

So why would the Taliban attack a source of their revenue? Retaliation for large scale Opium seizures I could understand, otherwise?

Patrick Lang

thomas

your point, and the present method of dealing with the logistics security issue, rest on the notion that the Taliban see their war with us as a business rather than a cause. Vonnegut would have loved this. pl

dh

Interesting question Thomas. Maybe the Taliban actually like the status quo.

Mike C

A couple things occurred to me, maybe this is far too simplistic, but:

- Isn't the Taliban getting an awful lot of money from our presence? They're not losing, and whatever Petraeus says we're looking for the exit, so why not milk us some more?

- Assume the article is correct and they can now slam the door whenever they want. Maybe they haven't because the time's not ripe. So when would it hit us and Kabul the hardest?

dan of steele

So why would the Taliban attack a source of their revenue?

different clans, families, tribes.....competition, free enterprise. everyone wants in the game. I doubt that Afghanistan is monolithic.

walrus

We discussed this obvious vulnerability with Col. Lang on this website years ago.

I also attach a link to a video of troops in an ambush to underline the difficulty of resupply in that terrain.

http://www.globalpost.com/video/commerce/100916/location-firefight-kunar-province


Watch the video. My comments are mainly unprintable. As the Humvee withdraws, look at all the people standing in the fields and watching....And our troops were surveying voting sites for the election when ambushed. What does that tell you about the election result? The victor is the Taliban "candidate" that didn't even stand.

FB Ali

This explains part of the reason why the Pakistan military gets the US to meet its needs and, often, wishes!

John Howley

The danger highlighted has always been the biggest single risk for President Obama's plan. Double the number of US troops in that landlocked nation and you double the logistical effort and the risk. Yet never mentioned once in all the learned MSM policy debate over the policy.

Currently, the main highways north from Karachi port are disrupted by the flooding -- how seriously we don't know because there is little reporting on it.

Aside from the limit case of a complete cut-off, one assumes that if the supply of fuel is reduced, then the tempo of U.S. operations must slow to conserve. Which carries risks of its own.

Ian

3,000 tons of supplies per day

In an emergency, we would stop shipping diet coke to Afghanistan. Could anyone hazard a guess as to what percentage of that 3000 tons is really necessary for a modern division to fight at full effectiveness?

johnf

O/T

Israel seeks release of spy in exchange for extending settlement freeze

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/20/israel-spy-release-settlement-freeze

Chutzpah.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

The Wars and the convoys fill too many rice bowls. Only when the source of protection money dries up, will the supply lines be cut. An air evacuation out of the Hindu Kush mountains in the dead of winter will make 1975 Saigon seem like a tropical sojourn.

DOD has plans for everything. But, if Washington DC is unable to rebuild America out of the Great Recession, I doubt that the White House or DOD have enough common sense to plan for the ground evacuation of NATO troops across the Friendship Bridge like the Soviets in February 1989.

As the Great Recession continues, more Hot Heads will be elected. Either the Afghanistan War funding is cut or the USA attacks Iran, and all Hell brakes loose.

Jackie

johnf,
Freeing Pollard for a three month building freeze? Like hell! Netanyahoo has always been an overreaching jerk.

Why can't the Israelis be reasonable?

Lysander

I'm no logistician, so have no idea if the Taliban really could cut off our supplies on a whim. I assume that if they haven't done it by now it can't be that easy. Perhaps they have been building their resources and plan a highly unusual winter offensive this year.

Be that as it may, if the Taliban did manage to pull of such a feat, can anyone imagine the humiliation of having to approach Iran, hat in hand, asking for their help? Wouldn't it save a lot of trouble to get out now? Are the rocks in A-stan really special or something?

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