New Delhi: The US favours supply routes to Afghanistan through Pakistan because of cost, but it is also flexible enough to avoid over-reliance on any single option, the Pentagon said today.
The US has nearly 14,000 troops in Afghanistan. President Donald Trump in August last year ruled out a hasty withdrawal of troops from the war-torn country while announcing his Afghanistan and South Asia policy.
"The US favours supply routes via Pakistan because of cost, but we have built flexibility and redundancy into our supply lines into and out of Afghanistan to avoid over- reliance on any single option," Department of Defence spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews told PTI.
He was responding to a question about the sustainability of the US in Afghanistan in case Pakistan decides to block the Ground Lines of Communication (GLOC), a step Islamabad takes in the event of increased tension with the United States. The GLOC was once a lifeline for US supplies for its troops in Afghanistan.
After it was closed for weeks in the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden by US commandos inside Pakistan, the US started the more expensive central Asia routes. However, the Pentagon did not tell on the quantum of its dependence on Pakistan's GLOC.
"Due to operational security, we won't be able to provide a specific percentage of US supplies going into Afghanistan through multiple routes. While the US favours shipping cargo via Pakistan because of cost, we have built flexibility and redundancy into our overall system of air, sea and ground routes to transport cargo into and out of Afghanistan," Mr Andrews said.
The supply needs are far less than what it once used to be when the number of troops touched more than 100,000 during the previous Obama administration.
"Due to the lower level of US troops, supply needs are lower. I cannot state specific decreases," he added.