Early this morning, an estimated 300 militants used a rocket-propelled grenade to flatten the gates of the Port World Logistic Terminal compound outside of Peshawar, and by the time they left a guard was dead and 106 vehicles had been torched, mostly humvees bound for US forces in Afghanistan.
Shortly afterwards, the nearby Faisal depot was attacked, destroying another 60 vehicles bound for Afghanistan. It is unclear if the same group attacked both compounds. The United States described the attacks as “militarily insignificant.”
Still, this is the second major attempt to disrupt NATO supplies across the Khyber Pass in less than a month, putting the safety most practical supply route for international force in Afghanistan into ever more serious doubt.
Access to the pass is threatened by more than just militants. Continued US air strikes have led to growing calls among Pakistan’s opposition to cut off supplies to the Afghan mission, with influential religious party Jamaat-e Islami’s (JI) leader Qazi Hussain Ahmed suggesting his group might eventually call for civilians to “create hurdles” to the shipments if the US attacks didn’t stop.
With the supply route in increasing peril, NATO is also relying on a secondary land route through Central Asia to transport supplies. Aside from being far less efficient that shipping across Pakistan, the route also has the disadvantage of relying on access to Russia at a time when relations with Russia are at a post-Cold War low.