Afghan war cost rise tests US taxpayers’ patience

The cost of war in Afghanistan is likely to further test the patience and nerves of American taxpayers, after the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) recently approved a new cargo container which will shoot up prices by billions.

ISAF forces are faced with a new threat, this time from within Pakistani borders, after their cargo containers, which provides them food and logistics for the war, came under repeated attacks from terrorists. These containers ship cargo from different parts of the world and reach Karachi Port from where they are transported to Kabul via Pakistan’s Indus Highway.  Hundreds of containers are routinely attacked and destroyed or snatched on this highway, eventually disturbing the flow of supply to the forces. The Tehreek-e-Taliban have claimed responsibility for a number of these attacks, while several others have remained unaccounted for though it is believed to be the work of terrorists.

Every month, nearly 4,000 cargo containers reach ISAF forces through Pakistan.

“The cost of one container currently is Rs 400,000. With the incorporation of new technology, the cost is likely to hit Rs 3,000,000,” a source close to the matter said. Eventually ISAF’s total cost on containers per month will come to Rs 12 billion rupees.

There are two kinds of containers ISAF forces depend on for their supplies. One is the open-air kind, which are covered on four sides, but are without any roof. The other is the closed kind, which is normally used to ship food items,” a source close to the matter said.

The new brand of containers will be fire-proof, bullet-proof and will also include a tracking device which will be linked to a satellite operated by the American government. Such changes will increase the cost of war for the American public, which is still trying to come out of its financial crunch.

“The cost of war for the Americans will increase tenfold, which will test their taxpayers’ temperament. Already unemployment and joblessness is plaguing that nation, and with such changes, we can imagine their cost screaming to greater heights,” General (retd) Hameed Gul said while speaking to  The News Tribe.

When called to comment on the General (retd) Talat Masood said the security of shipping containers will remain unless checked physically.

“Such changes will ensure the security of the containers, but only marginally. In the longer run, however, these containers will continue to be a threat to transporters in particular and ISAF in general,” he said, while talking to The News Tribe.

According to sources ISAF approached Steve Doer and asked for a model container. The model was rejected because it failed to protect the cargo even with the changes.

“ISAF has approached a foreign manufacturing company, Steve Doer, and placed an order of 2,500 containers, which they hope will come into working by the middle or end of next year,” sources said.

Later these containers will be given to Maersk Lines Ltd., TRT International, Blue Sky LLC, Sea Shipping Lines, who will use these containers to ship cargo from around the world to Afghanistan,” sources said. “Obviously they will charge more  because they will require careful handling.”

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