Why the Taliban are happy that the US and Pakistan patched things up
Pakistan has reopened the trucking routes NATO relies on for getting weapons and other goods into Afghanistan. That has US generals and the Taliban smiling.
This summer's fighting season, both the Taliban and US-led NATO forces have been grumbling. The bullets and other supplies both sides need to pursue the war in the style they've grown accustomed to have been more expensive to bring into the country because Pakistan had closed its border to NATO trucking. The US has had the better of it, with the ability to fund more expensive air drops and resupply through Central Asia. But both sides have been unhappy about the state of affairs.Skip to next paragraph
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After months of pressure from the US, Pakistan has finally relented. Resupply was allowed to resume on an interim basis a few weeks ago and today, an agreement was signed to allow NATO resupply into Afghanistan through 2015, and the deal has something for everybody. Pakistan receives $1 billion in military aid the US had frozen in retaliation. NATO resupplies its forces in the war zone cheaper, and faster. And the Taliban, which piggybacks off the vast NATO logistics operation to supply its own forces, is back in business.
What? Yes. That's right. It's been public knowledge for years that the Taliban make a mint from extorting protection money from the Afghan and Pakistani truckers who work for NATO. But this fact isn't discussed nearly enough when considering the dynamics of America's longest running war. In an indirect sense, US taxpayers, and to a lesser extent European taxpayers, are paying for the bullets and roadside bombs that target their own soldiers.
But for today, there's delight all around. Richard Hoagland, the deputy US ambassador to Pakistan, called the supply agreement a "demonstration of increased transparency and openness" between the US and Pakistan. A Pakistani defense official described the deal as a "landmark event," according to Agence France-Presse. The Taliban are smiling, too, according to the Associated Press.