Pentagon Could Spend $1 Billion to Deal With Anti-Drone Protest

Disruption at key pass imposing major shipping costs in Afghanistan.

A US army soldier with the 101st Airborne Division Alpha Battery 1-320th prepares to launch a drone outside Combat Outpost Nolen in the village of Jellawar in The Arghandab Valley on September 4, 2010. US military commanders in Afghanistan are developing a strategy that would tolerate limited corruption but target large-scale abuses, The Washington Post reported late September 3, citing unnamed senior defence officials, the newspaper said Pentagon officials had concluded that the Taliban insurgency was the most pressing threat to stability in Afghanistan rather than corruption. The United States has almost 93,000 troops in the country, who along with 48,000 NATO soldiers are battling a Taliban-led insurgency.
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Jordain Carney
Dec. 19, 2013, 6:07 a.m.

Pop­u­lar demon­stra­tions block­ing a land pass between Pakistan and Afgh­anistan could force the De­fense De­part­ment to pay up to $1 bil­lion more to move mil­it­ary equip­ment out of Afgh­anistan.

U.S. of­fi­cials told the As­so­ci­ated Press on Wed­nes­day that they aren’t aware of any steps taken by the Pakistani gov­ern­ment to stop the protests near the Torkham bor­der cross­ing, which paused all NATO mil­it­ary cargo ship­ments by the United States more than three weeks ago.

Pakistani of­fi­cials noted that cit­izens have the right to protest, but U.S. of­fi­cials said that fly­ing the equip­ment out of Afgh­anistan will cost up to sev­en times more than send­ing it through Pakistan.

There is an­oth­er land route out of Afgh­anistan through its north­ern bor­der with Uzbek­istan, but us­ing it would add ad­di­tion­al ship­ping com­plic­a­tions, as well as in­crease in cost and ship­ping time.

The group is protest­ing the U.S. drone pro­gram. There have been 27 drone strikes in Pakistan so far this year, down from an all-time high of 117 in 2010.


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