July 14th, 2010
09:46 AM ET

U.S. battles for supplies as convoy attacks increase

Peshawar, Pakistan (CNN) — A photo album. A personal letter. A bravery reward for a U.S. Army captain. All were intended for U.S. service members stationed in Afghanistan, but instead are for sale in a Peshawar market.

The Pakistani market, close to the border with Afghanistan, is fabled for selling goods looted from U.S. military resupply convoys that pass through.

Because Afghanistan is landlocked, more than half of all U.S. supplies pass through Pakistan, a route hundreds of miles long through tribal badlands. And the route is coming under increasing attack.

The Taliban know by attacking trucks they can drive up the cost of the war. For the past few years, the cost of resupply convoys has been rising.

Even the main highways are becoming more dangerous. The largest recent attack came just outside the relatively secure capital, Islamabad. More than 80 vehicles were destroyed, including armored military hardware labeled for the U.S. Afghan surge or troops. As with all convoys, there were no U.S. forces and no security guards.

According to witnesses, it took just 12 gunmen a matter of a few minutes to turn a massive resupply mission into a mass of charred, twisted and useless wreckage.

One Pakistani trucker on the convoy who was shot in the attack told us he was lucky to be alive and that he won't be driving U.S. supplies again.

After the attack, the Taliban handed out fliers threatening drivers with death if they worked such a convoy again.

"A greedy person may work for double the pay," Ubaid Ullah Anwar tells CNN through an interpreter. "But it's like committing suicide and I won't do it."

At the port city of Karachi where some U.S. supplies come ashore, containers are stacking up, many because more and more contractors say they won't touch them.

soundoff (332 Responses)
  1. humphrey2075

    See war updates at: http://threetrilliondollarwar.org/

    July 21, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  2. humphrey2075

    This is yet another "hidden cost" of the war that is pushing the true cost into the trillions of dollars. It is sad that the Afghan people are suffering but we also need to consider the cost to the US economy of the fact that we are spending $8 billion per month in Afghanistan - in large part because the cost of getting fuel and supplied to our troops is so high. This was explained in the excellent book by Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda Bilmes, "The Three Trillion Dollar War". The authors provide updates on war costs in their blog:


    July 21, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ryan

    This is in response to "Frank". Its funny that you think that only Republicans are fighting this war. I have a lot of friends in the different branches that are not Republicans. They care about this country so they sacrifice their safety and put their lives on hold to protect it, and protect it's citizens, which includes you. So I suggest all the left-wing cry babies grow a pair and start standing up for this country and maybe take a page out of the Republicans book on what it means to be an American citizen.

    July 20, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BiMike

    Say....Didn't this all start with World Trade Center? Obama? If you left us alone and stopped bathing in dirt and prefering goats to your women as you beat them more! You murder your children for going to school! No really I see where you're coming from! You don't believe in the new Koran we wrote last week! Infidels...Off with thier heads! Gimme a break.

    July 20, 2010 at 6:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bill

    The Taliban and Al Queda are our forces. We trained them, we armed them, and when USSR went home, we dis guarded them. America's Foreign Policy is done in the Now without ever planning for two weeks from now.

    July 20, 2010 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. MMHMM...




    July 19, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. 5niper

    His last statement says it all...Bring in more Contracters!

    July 19, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ismail

    nut USA. Let the islam die itself.

    July 19, 2010 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
  9. CharlieSeattle

    Everyone naively thinks that the goal is to win here.

    Why would Prez Bush leave a back door out of Tora Bora for Bin Laden to walk through?

    Why would Prez Obama delay and then undercut Gen Stanley McChrystal's requests for enough troops to win?

    Ya, I would have been relieved of duty also. I too, like Gen. Stanley McChrystal do not suffer fools.

    Gen. Stanley McChrystal realized his troops were mere pawns in a larger game.

    Keeping bases in former soviet territory and maintaining control over the oil region, FOREVER! is far more important that winning quickly and leaving.

    Our ill equipped and undermanned forces have just enough to tread water and that's it. But this is by design. Here are now in 2010, 9 years after 9/11/2001.

    Our brave men and women will follow good orders that win wars quickly or bad ones that do not. They have been set up to fail at worst, tie at best.

    July 18, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CGeorgeK

    By the way, when are these fools going to quit calling this Bush's war or Obama's war or anybodies war... This is and has always been Congresses' war... members of both parties voted to appropriate funds for the military machine – from the beginning until the present – do not kid yourself – if you think these wars are a Republican or Democrat thing – then you should stamp "idiot" on your forehead. These wars demonstrate the underlying relationship between Congress (Republicans and Democrats) and $BigBusiness$ – and this relationship will never change through the election process alone. Whoever you nominate, whoever you vote for... whoever gets elected... will change nothing... how many elections do you have to experience to realize the truth of this?

    July 17, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CGeorgeK

    The entire war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan is a comedy of errors perpetrated by a continuum of sodomy of democracy performed by politicians and military experts (generals) – each trying to validate their place and purpose in society, as well as, capitalize on the profits of war, directly and indirectly – and while ignoring that the country is beyond bankrupt as result – it is becoming increasing evident that both have outlived their usefulness.

    July 17, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Simply Ed

    Thw war is lost. Indeed we Americans are arrogant and uniformed.This war, without a clear objective is lost (Period). The only question now is how long before the world declares it (We will never acknowledge defeat, and some think we won the Viet Nam war), at what cost (Osama Bin Laden said this war would bankrupt our country, and sadly he appears correct) and how many more American lives will be lost. We don't have the manpower, the money or the resolve to win this war, and drones will not get it done. Hell, we can't make any major city in this country safe, how are we going to make Kabul safe. Panic now and avoid the rush!

    July 17, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ali

    Reading so many posts where each one wants to up the other: how the Afghans are prehistoric, Russians are so and so, Americans are Super Good or devils from some other post! We are all victims of programming that has gone on for hundreds of years that we are separate, this mindset of separation has kept us in a constant state of war.
    Is it so damn difficult to comprehend that we are nothing but a product of collective programming from the moment of birth (hence the idea that nothing is real!) Many will say that I am naive but unless we completely overhaul our belief system we are doomed to continue this war mentality on this planet indefinitely. WE ARE ONE AND THE SAME! We don't need any religion to tell us this, it is simply "LOGICAL". Once we take on this mindset our actions will naturally take on a different path and we may then witness on this planet the so called "Government of God".

    July 17, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • CGeorgeK

      While you are quite correct, in that, human beings are a function of the indoctrination they receive beginning at birth – what occurs to you as "logical" – will not likely occur as logical to someone deeply dipped in their indoctrination. To understand this, you would need to understand a great deal more about human beings than is available through the medium of Western Psychology. Stated briefly, for most, their is no distinction between self and their indoctrination –
      and the organism is designed to respond to separation as one would to having a tooth pulled with no anesthetic.

      July 17, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Martoons

    Mr. Taliban if you are reading this (and you probably are) please stop destroying the convoys with RPGs etc and instead ask drivers to run away & take the goods to use yourselves...

    July 16, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Anti-Press

    All I can do is say wow. This guy doesn't know what the hell he is talking about.

    July 16, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  16. mike

    if you have not been to afganistan... do not speak about afghanistan

    July 16, 2010 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • CGeorgeK

      What gives me the right to speak about Afghanistan – without having been there – and having no desire to go – is the fact that the US government is taking money out of my pocket to fund these wars and driving the country I live in into bankruptcy. I am sure the government would like everyone to think as you do!

      July 17, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Smith in Oregon

    Hopefully with the supply lines dwindling down, the American troops will also dwindle out of Afghanistan, much as the Germans were forced out of occupying Russia during WW2. I'm certain American taxpayers would be stunned to see what their taxpayer dollars are being used to purchase for the Afghanistan war, it would make many angry and ill.

    US Military troops are not nation builders and American taxpayers can no longer afford Oil Wars to Nowhere.

    July 16, 2010 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  18. Robbie


    July 16, 2010 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  19. Paul

    It seams that the US Military Commanders forgot about the first law of warfare, “secure your supply lines above all else”

    July 15, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  20. AC

    So let me get this right-Are these supplies been transported without any protection?
    Are we really that stupid? What kind of an idiot will do that?
    Naaaaaaa.......it has to be more involved on this article. Otherwise, we better pack and leave this ME BS.

    July 15, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  21. dindy

    clear the roads with air raids before the food containers take off. otherwise can use air crafts without humans to check the roads. Must Bomb all the Taliban hideouts. Drop the leaflets and tell civilians to leave Taliban groups and Bomb the camps that these terrorists plan and operate their activities.

    July 15, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  22. Maria

    God bless our soldiers and there families and keep them safe

    July 14, 2010 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Maria Vaughn

    Oh and Khan guess what buddy they didnt need bombs they just lined people up and shot them or lit them on fire you know why because they could and there was no accountability so why dont you check the stats on that...oh wait... you cant can you

    July 14, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  24. balm

    Pakistan is the only route for US supplies. Otherwise its through Iran, or through Uzbekistan-Kazakhistan-Russia, or through Tadjikistan-China. I don't think so!! The pakistan military refuses to guard the convoys and the Pakistan drivers are refusing to drive them. And Pakistan won't let the US guard the convoys. Time to redefine success and leave the mess.

    July 14, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Steve

    I agree with the Berlin airlift idea, that worked well. The REAL solution to the problem is to get the hell out and spend the money securing our borders against terrorists. I'm sure securing our borders would be cheaper than what is being spent in the middle east. It might also help with the drug war.

    July 14, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Hey an idea that makes sense!

      July 15, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  26. relians

    how long before we realize that the real battle for afghanistan is in pakistan?

    July 14, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Anonymous

    It seems quite obvious that supplies are handled by civilian contractors without any security through Pakistan. I am surprised that this is the case (especially if it is supplies amounting to millions of $$$). Can't Pakistani army/external security provider provide the required security for the supply convoys? I am sure that someone has thought about this option before... or may be the occasional loss of supplies is cheaper than providing security to the supply convoys....

    July 14, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Facefur

    Perhaps the cure to this immediate problem (convoy destruciton) as opposed to the "Problems of the U.S. and the World" that people lay on G.W. or B.O. would be to diplomatically, but firmly tell the Pakistanis that we will simply no longer tolerate their inability to protect our shipments, and will find another route to deliver them, even if it means creating an air-bridge reminiscent of the Berlin airlift. That will essentially eliminate the theft and destruction that convoys and convoy drivers experience therse days. Pakistan may be a major player in this military campaign, but they are not good contributors to our goals, and we need to separate ourselves from them.

    July 14, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • dindy

      WHAT YOU SAY IS TRUE. Pakistan play a double game and earn money from this war.

      July 15, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  29. CapeOfStorms

    Why is the U.S. fighting in Afghanistan? It's because of the 9/11attacks.Why did those attacks take place? It's because of America's support for Israel.America's involvement in the rest of the world's affairs has made it a target for terrorist attacks.

    July 14, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  30. ALEJANDRO Londono

    If 911 was done by Al Qaeda, they must have good spies in our goverment. How could have they know that NORAD was in training exercises. And weren't able to protect our skies.

    July 14, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Observer

    You gonna reap just what you sow.

    July 14, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
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