U.S. KOWTOWS TO PAKI-TERROR REGIME

If the U.S. wants to ship goods for the Afghanistan war through Pakistan again, it may cost $5,000 per container.

Washington believes it has a deal, finally, to reopen Pakistan’s resupply routes for the Afghanistan war, saving a bunch of cash. But not before its Pakistani frenemies drive the price up.

Pakistan wants a $5,000 fee on every shipping container that passes through what NATO calls the Ground Lines of Communication, or GLOCs, on its territory. The old fee? $0. But that was before a U.S. commando raid in November on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead. (Never mind that a U.S. investigation found that the Pakistani troops fired on the Americans first and repeatedly.)

Islamabad shut its gates immediately afterward, and kept them shut. The U.S. and its allies adjusted, resupplying the war through air routes running from the Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan. But that’s much, much more expensive: the Pentagon says the air route costs $15,800 per container, compared to $6,200 per container trucked through Pakistan.

And so Pakistan has leverage. The Pentagon has tried to limit that leverage as negotiations to reopen the GLOCs have ground on, refusing to disclose exactly how much the GLOC closure has cost taxpayers, or even how many containers actually pass through Manas. (NBC’s Richard Engel reported on The Rachel Maddow Show on Wednesday that Pakistan’s fee will amount to $1 million per day from the United Statesplus another $1.1 billion for “services rendered” in the 10-year war.) But that can only mitigate Pakistan’s leverage, not eliminate it. A $5,000 container fee will still be less than what it costs to ship through Manas.

You cannot hate the player here. Pakistan has something the U.S. wants: cheaper resupply for the war. And it has its own needs: simply reopening the route like nothing happened in November would be politically unacceptable; to say nothing of straight-up dumb. And the U.S. still operates its drone war over Pakistan, so Islamabad can always play that card, too.

If you want to hate, hate the game. The U.S. has given Pakistan something like $15 billion worth of mostly-military aid since the Afghanistan war began — sometimes literally in cash — and as long as the war grinds on, Pakistan has every incentive to keep its hand out.

The Washington Post reports that Pakistan’s desired $5,000 container fee “has been difficult for the Pentagon to swallow.” Get ready to swallow. Next week is NATO’s big summit on Afghanistan, occurring in Chicago — which, by the most astonishing of coincidences, is the home base of President Obama’s reelection campaign. Pakistan is invited and will attend. The cost for the show of unity on the war that the U.S. — and the Obama campaign — wants is the fee for the GLOCs that Pakistan will impose.

READ THE REST HERE

Also:

Pakistan Shuts Its Border; Pentagon Shuts Its Mouth

For nearly six months, Pakistan has closed its ground shipping routes to convoys resupplying the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. Getting those resupply routes open is preoccupying U.S. military officers and diplomats as they haggle, sweet-talk, beg and cajole their Pakistani counterparts, since alternative shipping routes are vastly more expensive. Exactly how expensive, the Pentagon won’t say, probably because disclosing that figure could undermine the U.S. in its talks with its Pakistani frenemy.

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