Afghanistan: SP demands openness over dangers

18 December 2008

Afghanistan: SP demands openness over dangers

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel has demanded an explanation from the Minister of Foreign Affairs regarding the supplying of troops in Afghanistan. According to reports in the international press, supply lines are subject to daily attacks by the Taliban and other militias in pursuit of booty.

Harry van Bommel“The minister must be open about the state of affairs in relation to the vulnerable supply lines,” says Van Bommel. “As these reports indicate, these transports are attacked daily. Hundreds of trucks have been destroyed in the last few weeks. This paints a forbidding picture of the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

NATO troops in southern Afghanistan are completely dependent on these transports for the supply of all necessities, from toothpaste and water to weapons and ammunition. They come via Pakistan. For the last year we have been receiving reports of attacks on the transports there. Drivers are being killed and their loads destroyed or stolen. An organisation of Pakistani drivers is refusing to work on the transports. NATO is working on alternative routes, via air or through Russia. “In April the Foreign Minister, Maxime Verhagen told me that NATO had received permission from Russia to transport goods through their territory,” says Van Bommel. “Now it turns out that there are difficulties over this, stemming from the war in Georgia. I want the Minister to say whether it’s true that only Germany and France will be allowed to deliver goods via Russia.”

The crisis has reached a point where hauliers are forced to pay protection to Taliban commanders or other militia leaders in order to guarantee that they will be able to pass unhindered. “According to reports in the British newspaper The Times, this amounts to 25% of the value of the transports. This means that there must be agreements with the Taliban, perhaps only at a low level. These are all, in any case, indications of the extent of the pressure under which the NATO troops find themselves, and that a political agreement between the warring parties must be reached so that the war can be ended.”

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