Washington: Threatened with the loss of a key air base, the US military is making plans to move materiel and fuel to US forces in Afghanistan through a network of commercial links through Russia and Central Asia, a military spokesman said Friday.
Adding urgency to the planning is a looming military buildup in Afghanistan that will nearly double the size of the US force and dramatically expand the demand for all kinds of supplies.
Insurgents, meanwhile, have been attacking overland supply lines into eastern Afghanistan through Pakistan, intermittently closing a pass through which 80 percent of US military supplies enter the country.
On top of that, Kyrgyzstan announced this week that it will close access to a vital US-leased air base through which 15,000 troops and 500 tonnes of supplies pass through every month.
The Pentagon still hopes to work out a deal with Kyrgyzstan to keep the base at Manas open, but is exploring other avenues into remote, landlocked Afghanistan, officials said./blockquote>
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