Pakistan shut down the border crossing at Torkham to NATO fuel supplies after a series of raids by the US in Pakistan aimed at taking out the leadership of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. They reoppened the crossing today, and it demonstrates the power Pakistan has over Nato supply lines at the moment. The only other options to supply are by air, or overland and sea via Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, or through Russia. Either presents problems at the moment, as does negotiatng new supply routes from China via the silk road.
These raids have increased in tempo since the beginning of the year, but have not to our knowledge taken out anyone higher than mid level in either organization. Osama Bin Laden, Mullah Omar, Ayman Al Zawahiri, Baitullah Mehsud, Haqqani, and Abu Yazid Al Masri are still all out there to the best of my knowledge.
While many Taliban and AQ were killed, the identities are largely unknown until we get confirmations from other sources.
More on the interdiction of supplies from Bill Roggio:
The US has recently stepped up attacks against Taliban and al Qaeda safe houses and training camps inside Pakistan’s tribal areas of North and South Waziristan over the last week. The US has conducts five strikes in the Waziristans in the past week, including a controversial helicopter assault in a village along the border.
But other Pakistani officials are maintaining that the border crossing was closed due to a deteriorating security situation. Rahmin Malik, the advisor to Prime Minister Gilani on internal security, said the road was closed after members of the security forces protecting the road to Afghanistan were kidnapped.
This is a political move, demonstrating the new President’s independence from US control, but ultimately the Pakistan economy could not withstand the shock of stopping the supplies permanently, as well as the other likely reprecussions. It is significant that Pakistan also made this move as the India nuclear deal took place, allowing open trade with India and bringing them back into the nuclear arms treaties. Similar deals were in the works with Pakistan, but those fell through, more from the chaos of the elections and the aftermath of forming a new coalition after the initial one collapsed.
Pakistan’s future could be bright: They sit on the best path for energy and food supplies to most of the subcontinent, but as long as their frontiers remain out of control they will never be able to leverage that geopolitial advantage very well.