And contractors will be a very important part of that drawdown, much like they were in Iraq. The problem with Afghanistan though is how difficult it will be to actually get this stuff out of the country, just because it is a landlocked nation and the roads out of town are through some rough and dangerous country. At least Iraq had easier roads to navigate on and plenty of port access.
What is interesting with this deal is the decision making process to ship the item or leave it in Afghanistan for whomever– all because of cost. How much stuff they leave in this country is the question, and I imagine it will be quite a bit. -Matt
Equipment drawdown from Afghanistan an ‘enormous’ undertaking
By Hendrick Simoes
March 23, 2013
With the pace of NATO’s drawdown from Afghanistan accelerating, the international coalition is faced with the unprecedented task of removing tens of thousands of tons of equipment and vehicles from a country still very much at war.
For the U.S. military, moving 35,000 vehicles and 95,000 shipping containers full of cargo to various bases in America or overseas is easier said than done.
Maj. Gen. Kurt Stein, commander of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command, said during a visit to Kuwait last month that getting the supplies and equipment out of Afghanistan will be an “enormous” mission.
“It will be historic, it’s nothing like we have ever done in the history of our military.” The 1st TSC has a leading role in the equipment drawdown, or as they refer to it — “retrograde.”
Afghanistan is landlocked, and transit routes to the nearest seaport in Pakistan are long, politically tenuous and vulnerable to attack. The alliance’s northern supply route, snaking overland through Central Asia and Russia to Poland and the Baltics, also is difficult due to the logistics of coordinating truck and rail transport.
Stein, who also oversaw the pull-out of equipment from Iraq, said there could be no comparison between the complexity of the two operations.