President Barack Obama has warned that the United States would launch strikes inside Pakistan if it had actionable intelligence about the presence of top Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in a particular area.
His statement – included in the transcript of an interview released on Monday – contradicts earlier US media reports that President Obama opposed drone attacks at suspected Taliban targets in and around Quetta.
Mr Obama made the statement when he was reminded that for almost a year officials in his administration had been saying that the Taliban leadership was now somewhere in Quetta and yet he was reluctant to call in drones to target those leaders. [continued…]
President Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan will magnify one of the Pentagon’s biggest challenges: getting aviation and diesel fuel to U.S. air and ground forces there.
As the number of U.S. and coalition troops grows, the military is planning for thousands of additional tanker truck deliveries a month, big new storage facilities and dozens of contractors to navigate the landlocked country’s terrain, politics and perilous supply routes. And though Obama has vowed to start bringing U.S. forces home in 18 months, some of the fuel storage facilities will not be completed until then, according to the contract specifications issued by the Pentagon’s logistics planners.
“Getting into Afghanistan, which we need to do as quickly as we can possibly do it, is very difficult because . . . next to Antarctica, Afghanistan is probably the most incommodious place, from a logistics point of view, to be trying to fight a war,” Ashton Carter, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said recently. “It’s landlocked and rugged, and the road network is much, much thinner than in Iraq. Fewer airports, different geography.”
Navy Vice Adm. Alan S. Thompson, who directs the Defense Logistics Agency, earlier this year called support for operations in landlocked Afghanistan “the most difficult logistics assignment we have faced since World War II.”
The military’s fuel needs are prodigious. According to the Government Accountability Office, about 300,000 gallons of jet fuel are delivered to Afghanistan each day, in addition to diesel, motor and aircraft gasoline. A typical Marine corps combat brigade requires almost 500,000 gallons of fuel per day, according to a recent study by Deloitte Analysis, a research group. Each of the more than 100 forward operating bases in Afghanistan requires a daily minimum of 300 gallons of diesel fuel, the study said. [continued…]