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US military looks to supply lines amid Pakistan unrest

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Nov 14, 2007
The US military has begun making contingency plans in case its supply lines to its forces in Afghanistan are disrupted by the turmoil in Pakistan, a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell also said the United States had no concerns about the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons. "We believe they are under the appropriate control," he said.

He said that so far the political unrest has had no impact on the extensive US military supply operations in Pakistan.

But he said the supply lines were "a real area of concern for our commanders in Afghanistan because 75 percent of all our supplies in Afghanistan flow through or over Pakistan, including 40 percent of all fuel."

"We are not taking it for granted," he said. "There are efforts underway right now to figure out contingency supply lines to our troops in Afghanistan if it becomes necessary."

Morrell had no details on alternate routes being looked at by the US military, but its only other supply hub near Afghanistan is an air base in Kyrgyzstan.

The United States in 2005 lost access to a base in Uzbekistan, which offered a land route into Afghanistan from the north.

The spokesman said the United States has taken no action to cut off military aid to the regime of President Pervez Musharraf.

Morrell was asked whether the contingency planning reflected a loss of confidence in the Musharraf government.

"I wouldn't characterize it as anything more than what it is," he said.

"In light of the fact that there is civil unrest in Pakistan, in light of the fact that there is a state of emergency in Pakistan, we think it is responsible given the importance of the Pakistani supply lines to our operations to have a contingency plan.

"And if it becomes necessary to alter our supply lines we want to make sure we have a backup plan," he said

Morrell also reiterated concerns expressed by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week that a prolonged state of emergency will distract Pakistani forces from counter-terrorism work.

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Turkey says intelligence-sharing with US underway
Ankara (AFP) Nov 14, 2007
Turkey said Wednesday that the United States had begun to share intelligence on Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq, and reaffirmed its readiness for cross-border military strikes if necessary.

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