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04 October 2010


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What about via Meshed and Herat from.....Iran?

To an untutored eye that perhaps looks to be well away from the "Indian country" of the border, at least till Kandahar is reached?


I am just curious, in 10 years of war, whether has anyone considered laying a railroad or a network of railroads from alternative supply points to Kabul, ala Baghdad Railroad.

Germans prior to WWI has connected Istanbul to Baghdad in a relatively short time, and despite the heroics of Mr.Lawrence and the gang, it functioned relatively well until the end of the war. Is it more difficult to maintain the security and reliability of a railroad track than that of a paved road?


There is a fifth option. Through Iran but the Israeli lobby wouldn't allow that. Who says that Israel doesn't endanger the United States's security?
Although why Afghanistan has anything much to do with US security is beyond me since 9/11 seems to have been funded and staffed out of Saudi Arabia and the planning and training took place in Germany and the United States. It seems that the only connection to Afghanistan was some idiot holed up in a cave who claimed it was his idea. The only problem, we only have his word for it!


ps After making the above comment, I remembered an interview with Dario Cecchini, a well-known Italian butcher, in the UK Independent and I dreamt that we had sent him to Afghanistan instead:

I'm not sure Dario Cecchini could exist in Britain. Years before Jamie Oliver was publicising his philanthropic ventures, or Dario had any money, he was accommodating, in his house, several members of the community who were, by all conventional standards, dysfunctional. Nobody in Panzano would deny that the place has more than its fair share of what would, in a less enlightened age, have been described as village idiots. One middle-aged resident has wandered around the main square for several years under the impression that he is the 9.15 bus to Florence. Three years ago there was an unfortunate incident when the driver of a large articulated lorry got his vehicle stuck in the tight, cobbled street that leads up to the church. When people asked him why he'd gone up the narrow road, which has a low arch, he told them: "I asked this guy down in the square if it was OK. He said: 'Sure, I drive my bus up there every day.'"



Termez, Uzbekistan, north of Masar e Saharif, where the Russians entered,and then departed--saying "goodbye" to their empire.

Deja vu all over again.


The hell with resupply,get out NOW!

Adam L Silverman

Sir: there have now been three of these with the most recent claimed by the Pakistani Taliban. Details at the link and a discussion of alternate supply routes too:

Patrick Lang


I note that you are probably Turkish.

In fact, although the Hijaz Railroad cotinued to run throughout the war, that was irrelevant. That was Lawrence's intention, the idea being that the Turkish Army should be forced to devote so much time and resources to keeping the line running that they would not have the force or supplies left over to successfully fight and destroy the army of the Emir Feisal. That worked.

BTW, I have two bookends made of pieces of rail from the Hijaz Railroad. We cut them out of a rail one starry night next to one of the long abandoned Ottoman railroad stations north of Medina. pl


Blowback is a STRATEGOS.

Patrick Lang


I looked at the Cole piece on routes of supply. The Central Asia/Russia ones are possible but inconvenient and will give Russia a veto over our options in Afghanistan. pl


Two additional points:

The former chief of the Indian intelligence service RAW, B. Raman, dots a line between U.S. drone attacks and attacks on the supply line:

Since the beginning of this year, there have been 55 attacks on NATO logistic convoys proceeding from Karachi to Afghanistan either via Balochistan or via Khyber Pakhtunkwa. Twenty-two of these attacks took place in September. The steep increase in attacks during September coincided with a steep increase in Drone (pilotless plane) strikes carried out by the US in North and South Waziristan.

(Pat - do you know Raman?)

Newsweek had a piece this week that says some of the Usbek jihadis that were with the Taliban are moving from the FATA back to their home countries north of Afghanistan.It suggests that the move could be to attack the supply lines there.

The supply lines from Usbekistan and Tajikistan both depend on a single bridge crossing. Are those bridges defended? How easy is it to fill a truck with explosives, to drive it onto the bridges and blow them up?
And how about the Salang tunnel? Is it guarded?

Connecting the dots I find this to be a new Taliban campaign phase.

The U.S/NATO forces in Afghanistan have likely reached their peak number.
Now the mouse trap can close and over the winter they can be slowly suffocated by ever increasing pressure on the supply lines.

That's Osama's old plan - suck them into the country, humiliate and defeat them there.

We fell for it.


Al Jazeera has extensive coverage on this. They said that Pakistan closed the Khyber Pass to Nato vehicles - when did that happen?

Their local reporter says that witnesses said (soup of the soup, etc.) that the attackers shot up the 20 oil tankers and 'strolled' away when they finished. Police are searching the surrounding areas...

They say that the Pakistani outpost that was attacked by 'fixed-wing' aircraft on 30 Sep was clearly marked as a Pakistani Army facility.

Where was the point of entry into Pakistan for the trucks leaving Karachi? Not Quetta, surely.


An interesting parrallel



President Obama doubled down on the Bush policies of being cozy with Wall Street Fraudsters and the drone bombing of Pakistan.

If the Democrats loose control of the House and/or the Senate, the one and only indictment and prosecution of Bernie Madoff is the reason why.

The floods and the drone bombing campaign have discredited the Karachi government. Control of the Pakistani nukes could shortly be under control of the radicals. Cutting of the supply route could indicate that the civil war has started. Seizing power is more important than American bribes.

It is tragic and sad that two administrations in a row (Democratic and Republican) believe their own propaganda rather than seeking the truth. Didn’t they ever hear that the bombing campaign in Laos and Cambodia was a failure? If veteran pilots in Intruders, F-105 and F4s were unsuccessful at interdiction and/or forcing Hanoi to sue for peace, who can possibly believe that fuzzy faced kids looking a video screens in Nevada will accomplish anything more than blowing up houses and pickup trucks and radicalizing more Muslims.

Allen Thomson

> BTW, I have two bookends made of pieces of rail from the Hijaz Railroad.

Picture, please!


Sayin Albayim,

"I note that you are probably Turkish."

You are correct, the Kemalist kind, son of a Colonel of The Turkish Army, Korean War Veteran, Turkish Brigade 52-53. I am also proudly American after 30 years in US, now working in Turkey as a Production Designer for period films.

Thank you for this site, I have been following it for the last 6,7 years and just gathering up the courage to air my opinions from this part of the world in the audience of such esteemed company. And my family is from, and lives in Izmir. It has grown and changed tremendously, but still is beautiful. The old PX in Alsancak still exists, though Pirinclik Air Base is now an exclusively Turkish. With its double-wide streets and two story apartments, it still looks like a typical USAF base.

I realize this is unpostable, but your recognation was rather personal, and I was strangely touched. On another subject, given my Turkish-American mix, I may also have some claim to being a "Turcopole".

Respectfully yours


Norbert N, Salamon

Off topic:

Brazil has ab idea which should be promoted in USA [and Canada]:
Elect a profesional clown as a representative [even though he might have to take a litaracy test]



Do our leaders ever study history? Another interesting parallel.



I would also suggest Perry's victory:

Burgoyne's Saratoga campaign comes to mind as well.


I waiting for them to outsource this to the blackwater AF (If Erik hasn't started it yet I'm sure he soon will).

Perhaps we could just kill two birds with one stone and just outsource the whole thing to our 'best' ally Isreal and ship over the entire IDF ground and air forces. I'm sure they could mop this up in time for Hanukkah.


"What about via Meshed and Herat from.....Iran?"

That would be a great supply line. But Iran wont give it for free, and the price (probably normalization of relations with the US with recognition of Iran as a regional power broker) would be too high to pay. In fact, I suspect should the situation ever arise where such a supply line is needed, The neocon overlords would balk. The troops in Afghanistan have outlived their usefulness and should be prepared to die well.

Yes. That is exactly what they will say. I hope America's Generals have prepared an adequate response to them.


The 60 day Taleban plan to beat Nato in the Stan.

Of course Nato have the military power to punch a route through, but that means occupying (at least part of) Pakistan.

Patrick Lang


My wife and I have many happy memories of Izmir in the 1970-1972 period in between VN tours. We had a lot of Turkish friends, in particular one Ender Ozterakji, a bazari and his family. I went hunting a lot until one day when I realized that I could never kill anything uselessly again. SCUBA diving, the wonderful cuisine -- what can I say? I remember the day I came out of the USAF BX in the street you mentioned with an ice cream sandwich in my hand and encountered a street "gavroche" about ten years old. He held out his hand for money, but I broke the ice cream in half and sat on the curb with him and we had lunch together amid the donkey dung. pl

ex-PFC Chuck


Elect a profesional clown as a representative

We did that here in Minnesota in 2008: former Saturday Night Live comic Al Franken. He's turning out to be a pretty good senator, at least in my view. Pretty well informed on the major policy issues. As for literacy, for better or worse he's a Harvard grad.


The question that I wonder about is Why now? Is Obama the Nervous One whose party is facing an election in tough times the target. Make things tough on him in the press and get something in return to make it all go away?


My question about an Iranian route is, why sould the help us if we are busy getting sanctions against them at the UN?

I hope someone, or several someones, at the Pentagon are sweating their butts off over this one.

Maybe it is time for the CIA to quit sending drone strikes into Pakistan. Don't they have to get out of there, too? Eventually?

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