NATO Supply Shipments Through Pakistan Resume With Payments to Afghan Taliban Instead of Pakistan
After US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued an apology to Pakistan on Tuesday, the first supply trucks entered Afghanistan from Pakistan this morning. Although there had been suggestions during the negotiations to re-open the supply lines that were closed last November after the US killed over 20 Pakistani troops at a border post that Pakistan would charge a “toll” of up to $5000 per container shipped through the country, no fees to Pakistan are being paid. There does, however, appear to be an agreement in the works under which the US will re-pave the highway destroyed by the supply convoys. The Express Tribune is reporting this morning that extortion payments from the US to the Afghan Taliban for “protection” of the convoys, a practice that was in place prior to closure of the supply routes, will resume.
Here is the apology Clinton delivered to her counterpart in Pakistan:
This morning, I spoke by telephone with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.
I once again reiterated our deepest regrets for the tragic incident in Salala last November. I offered our sincere condolences to the families of the Pakistani soldiers who lost their lives. Foreign Minister Khar and I acknowledged the mistakes that resulted in the loss of Pakistani military lives. We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military. We are committed to working closely with Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent this from ever happening again.
As I told the former Prime Minister of Pakistan days after the Salala incident, America respects Pakistan’s sovereignty and is committed to working together in pursuit of shared objectives on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect.
Reuters brings us the news of the first trucks passing from Pakistan into Afghanistan:
A pair of trucks carrying NATO supplies crossed into Afghanistan on Thursday, Pakistani customs officials said, the first time in more than seven months that Pakistan has allowed Western nations to use its roads to supply troops in Afghanistan.
Customs officials said the container trucks had passed through the Chaman border crossing into southern Afghanistan, a milestone following a deal this week with the United States ending the impasse triggered by the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers by U.S. aircraft last November.
While Pakistan got the apology it wanted for the November border killings, the government agreed to drop demands to raise fees on supply trucks going into Afghanistan.
Instead of getting direct fees for the trucks passing through Pakistan, it appears that the US will rebuild highways destroyed by them:
The United States and Pakistan are trying to work out a separate arrangement for rebuilding the highway used for carrying supplies to Afghanistan, diplomatic sources told Dawn.
While announcing the agreement, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “Pakistan will continue not to charge any transit fee in the larger interest of peace and security in Afghanistan and the region.”
The announcement angered many in Pakistan and political commentators demanded that Islamabad should urge the Americans to at least rebuild the highway unpaved by Nato supply vehicles.
When Dawn checked with sources in Washington, it learned that the United States and Pakistan were already working on such an arrangement. The sources said the arrangement was not announced with the agreement to reopen supply routes because it was not finalised yet.
While Pakistan will not receive direct payments for the shipments, that is not the case for the Afghan Taliban. They appear quite happy that the routes have re-opened, because their supply of cash will now also re-open:
The resumption of supply lines in Pakistan appears to be good news for the Afghan Taliban, as well as local militants, as the closure had deprived them of millions of dollars they used to receive as ‘protection charges’ from Isaf and Nato.
A prominent militant leader, known for his close ties with Mullah Omar, told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity, that the Afghan Taliban and local militants who are active on the Pak-Afghan borders were “seriously annoyed” over the ban.
The leader, who is also one of the key leaders of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, said that the Afghan Taliban had even protested when his council was holding nationwide demonstrations pressing Pakistan against the lifting of the ban.
“The Taliban had frankly told me that the ban had caused them huge financial losses during the last eight months,” the militant leader said.
“We are offended over the resumption of the Isaf/Nato supply lines from Pakistan to Afghanistan but at the same time we are glad that at least our Taliban brothers in Afghanistan would be happy over this decision,” he said, adding: “Believe me it is good news for Taliban and militants.”
The Express Tribune is quite adamant about the existence of the protection money paid to the Taliban by the US, as elsewhere in the article they say:
According to international media reports, it is an admitted fact that US and Nato pay a handsome amount of money to the militants in return for safety and security of their supplies to Afghanistan via two land routes in Pakistan.
So let’s see. The US pays “a handsome amount of money” to militants in Afghanistan to prevent them attacking convoys of supplies meant to be used in putting down the activities of militants in Afghanistan. Did it ever occur to the US that perhaps those funds they pay to the Afghan Taliban are used to fund attacks on NATO personnel by the Afghan Taliban? It will be very interesting to see whether the Afghan Taliban is suddenly able to bring more weapons and IED’s into their attacks on NATO now that they have a renewed source of funding. If so, we will know how the Taliban came into the funding needed to procure those supplies. Of course, then NATO will need more supplies to put down the Afghan Taliban attacks, which will mean the Aghan Taliban will get more “protection” money, which means they can fund even more attacks…
Alert Homeland Security and Philip Mudd and the New America Foundation, that US Taxpayers are providing material support to the Taliban!
But the US Government and Hillary are so VERY SORRY for our Terror Attacks against Pakistan. This hurts us all, when War Supplies and the enormous payments to the Taliban are interrupted. The terror profiteers in the US and Pakistan have been greatly penalized by this break in CIA/ISI partnership of Terror.
There has been such a great legacy, the Pakistan Madrasses to train the recruits for Bin Laden and the Carlyle Group. Pakistan provided a safe haven for Bin Laden, which no one could have predicted. Did Bin Laden help with the Mumbai terror attack or did ISI and the CIA merely work together as usual.
WTH? No, seriously. Just WTH?
This continues to be so rediculous and crazy to maime and kill our military and others. There is no oil or gas pipeline available to benefit America enough to repay the costs of the Longest War ever!
We have to give up rights and freedoms for this insanity!
Jim, I’d like to add this link to your great post.
Wait, wait — surely there’s a provision in there by which the Taliban agrees only to use the money we give them for Good, right? You know, like for funding the resumption of polio screening interrupted by the knowledge that the former such efforts masked a CIA bin Laden search — the Taliban is picking that up, right, and we’re funding that, right? Because the idea that we would just dump cash on the people we’re fighting in order to get them to allow us to resupply our soldiers fighting them, without restriction, might turn out to have somebody in the group we’re fighting suggest that maybe those funds could be applied to the fighting?
Now, I realize this is not all that different from the FBI recruiting, instructing and provisioning “Terraists” within the US so that we can “foil plots” that are oh-so-scary because they’re “homegrown” — but if the idea of being in Afghanistan is to “fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here”, I have to once again wonder how it is we expect to win or stop a war in which we are recruiting and paying people to fight against us.
Happy Fifth of July! At least we don’t have to try to fit this news into a discussion about Liberty and Patriotism today.
I am surprised that hedged apology was accepted. No responsibility taken whatsoever.
@Frank33: Surely you don’t think the CIA was involved in the Mumbai Terror attacks ?
@saltinwound: You can be sure that Pakistan got a Carrot and Stick, but we only saw the Carrot …
I cannot prove that Headley/Gilani was actively working for the CIA when he plotted Mumbai. Several of his wives thought he was a terrorist and reported him to “intelligence authorities”. The Intelligence Authorities continued to let Headley wander far and wide. Perhaps if the Intelligence Authorities released his passport travels, we would know if Headley was directly giving orders to the Mumbai murderers four years ago.
So, the Intelligence Authorities such as Philip Mudd used Headley as an example of Americanized Al Qaeda terrorists. And another reason for the spymasters to destroy more freedoms. Except, that Headley was neck deep in US, and Pakistani espionage.
As his ex-wife told the US government counter-intelligence geniuses, “Either he is a terrorist, or he is working for you.” That would be the same thing.
Mudd does not say the Intelligence Authorities failed-again. But maybe this was not really a failure, since Mudd’s propaganda continues to protect Headley.
Have you ever heard anything about this before, EW?
And would we be paying the same Taliban that are attacking Pakastani soldiers in the cross-border raids mentioned by Moon of Alabama at the following link?
@ess emm: Well, there are a lot of different Taliban factions in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The group in that June raid was the TTP (Tahreek e Taliban Pakistan, even though they now are in Afghanistan) and they are known to be fighting with the Haqqani network, which is of course also pretty closely aligned with Pakistan’s military, especially the ISI.
It appears that the protection money goes to all sorts of groups scattered around Afghanistan (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-06-22/u-s-military-supply-chain-relies-on-afghan-warlord-payoffs-report-says.html) so it isn’t entirely out of the question that some goes to TTP. But keep in mind that as of the time of the June raid, protection money hadn’t been flowing for over six months. I wonder where the TTP got funding and weapons for that attack…
Here is a 2010 Congressional report on the protection money:
And from the first page of the executive summary is a quote from Hillary Clinton in a hearing from 2009:
Emphasis in original
all of this re-opening of the roads allowing re-supply is all well and good but what to do when the time comes (and it will tick tock) to get all of that shit OUT of Afghan that the usa hauled into Afghan???? hahahahahahahhaa
Northern land routes to be crucial in usa Retreat Out of Afghanistan
The Long Road(s)Back to usa
Thanks for the responses, Jim.
I’ll use one of those Inter-tube search engine thingies to see if any of the recommendations made in Rep. Tierney’s Warlord, Inc report were implemented. Maybe I’ll write an email to the Congressman and ask him.
“Up to 1,500 trucks packed with NATO supplies have been stranded in Karachi during the blockade, unable to unload and find other work.”
In the U.S., the rate for waiting time on U.S. government loads used to be (7 years ago) $550 a day per truck. Were these contractors paid waiting time for the past 7 months to sit on these 1,500 loads by the military in the port of Karachi? The container companies would also have billed for the extra time/use of their containers.