US has non-Pakistan supply routes for Afghan war

by  Andrea Shalal-Esa

WASHINGTON | Mon May 9, 2011 11:39am EDT

May 9 (Reuters) - The Pentagon has alternatives to the key land routes through Pakistan used to supply U.S. forces in Afghanistan and is not wholly dependent on those routes, a top U.S. official said on Monday.

"We're confident that we're not dependent upon any particular single thread, and we can continue to supply the Afghanistan effort," Ashton Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told Reuters.

More strains have emerged in already fragile U.S.-Pakistan ties after U.S. forces killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at a compound near Islamabad, prompting some concerns about the U.S. military's ability to get supplies to troops fighting in land-locked country of Afghanistan.

In an interview, Carter downplayed those concerns, noting that the U.S. military's logistics operation was developed to deal with unexpected hurdles such as devastating floods throughout Pakistan last year.

"You've seen when the volcano hit, when the floods in Pakistan hit, when Haiti happened, that our logistics system was resilient enough and had enough diversity that we could shift load from one mode to another," Carter said. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Jackie Frank)