Claire McCaskill, the Democrat senator from the state of Missouri claimed that NATO is losing more than $1 million every day because of Pakistan’s refusal to allow fuel supplies to Afghanistan. The NATO is currently using the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) to supply fuel and other supplies to its troops in Afghanistan, which is lengthier and considerably costlier, as compared to the Karachi-Peshawar route (Southern Distribution Network). The increasing transport costs have dealt a heavy blow to the NATO troops in Afghanistan, which are already affected badly by the sharp rise in crude oil prices.
The senator claimed that the armed forces are facing an additional bill of $1.3 billion as a result of the increase in crude oil prices. She said that the closure of the Pak supply route is further putting in pressure on their already critical financial state. Pakistan closed the supply route after the November 26 cross-border NATO air raid, which killed 24 of its troops in 2011.
The Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, Gen. Philip Breedlove said during the same congressional hearing that the armed forces are likely to face further additional bills and operational delays if Pakistan refuses to reopen the Ground Lines of Communication (GLOCs).
NATO is having two primary supply routes for its troops and vehicles in Afghanistan. The first and the shortest one is the Southern Distribution Network (SDN). The SDN starts from Karachi, then splitting in to two at Sindh. The first one travels towards the South Eastern Afghan city of Qandahar. The second one goes toward Multan, from there to Peshawar and terminates at Kabul after travelling through Jalalabad.
The NDN is considerably longer, starting at the Black Sea port of Poti (Georgia) and then reaching the Caspian coast city of Baku after travelling through Tbilisi. From Baku, the oil and other supplies are transported to the Kazakh port of Aktau. It travels further south through Termez in Uzbekistan, finally reaching Mazar-e-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan. The NDN started operating from 2008 onward, when the NATO decided to bypass Pakistan as a result of frequent attacks by Taliban and other insurgent groups. In 2011, the NDN was transporting as much as 35% more supplies when compared with the SDN.