Double Triple Threat

It costs three times more to ship materiel in and out of land-locked Afghanistan via the Northern Distribution Network than it did along the Pakistan ground routes that have been politically frozen since last fall, Defense Logistics Agency Director Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek said June 27. Moving materiel via the northern route through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Russia, and other countries in that region costs $20,000 per container, while it costs $7,000 to ship through Pakistan from the seaport of Karachi, Harnitchek told defense reporters in Washington, D.C. The northern route is more arduous and “takes longer,” but so far hasn’t resulted in any shortages of supplies among the fighting forces, he said. “We haven’t missed a beat,” he said. Harnitchek also asserted there are no chokepoints in the NDN that any one country in it could use to hold resupply hostage if it so chose. “I’m confident we can get it in,” should there be a political obstacle, he said. Even then, “we still have aircraft” resupply, he noted Air shipment, too, costs three times as much as a combination of sea and land movement, he said.