1. The issue wrt a Logistic supply chain via Iran is that we will be hostage to the Iranian objectives in Afghanistan and beyond. Iran has its own idea about Afghanistan and Iran is not like other ME countries. It is willing and able to press its views and advantages rather forcefully. Saudi/America/Israel/etc can vouch for Iran's independence and tenacity.
2. Not sure how persuasive Trump can be with Bakistan to hand over GB to India. You realize that it will mean a loss of direct road access to China and India's direct access to Afghanistan and its western border, two of its greatest fears.Interesting, why does the US ffear this I thought it would be happy to contain chinese ambitions where possible. And how does India's access to Afg hurt them if they want India to have boots on the ground in AfgUS does not fear this. It just doesn't have the leverage necessary to get bakis to back off on two areas of its (bakis) core concerns wrt India. 1. Denial of direct land access to China 2. India direct access to Afghanistan and it western border and thus create a 2 front scenario for itself. US hasn't been able to persuade bakistan so far on Afghanistan & Taliban either.
For a route to Afghanistan via GB, India will have to fight it out with Bakistan and possibly China. Why China? Because with India in control of GB it will mean a loss of China's land access to the Arabian sea and an direct entry of India into Afghanistan where the Chinese have plans. Kabab me haddi.Chinese access via CPEC doesn't seem anything to write home about so farMay be true BUT if China wants to make a play for a base/deployment in the Arabian sea/ Persian gulf then the land route become very useful in bypassing all US choke points. The road is already there and the "E" is CEPC may not be the most important component as far as China is concerned.
3. Assuming India has capture GB after fending off both Bakistan and China, we have to find a workable route to Afghanistan. The thing is GB is highly mountainous with very few viable path through the area. Remember the path has to be cross into Afghanistan across the GB/Wakhan border. It cannot be a India-Bakistan-Wakhan or a India-China-Wakhan crossing.
Roads on paper are no good. I would suggest proponents of this strategy to check the maps and suggest a probable path. It should be a learning experience for sure no matter what the outcome. There are a couple of other question on this very topic that I had jotted down a while back in another post. Linking viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7757&start=1680#p2377907
Yes, this an issue. There is a route that goes via Kargil - Gilgit - one via Skardu (Hwy 1) and the Astore Rd, which is more direct that gets you as far as Gilgit and Karimabad. After that, India will have to build about 100 miles worth of pliable roadway to the Wakhan corridor. Not easy for sure, but worth a thought. Total route will be about 300 miles from kargil to Kabul. Circuitous but possibly doable with air support. Kargil to Kabul via Skardu - Gilgit - Sost bazar - Irshad pass (GB/Wukhan border) - Kisht Ab - Gaz Khun - Vark - Panjshir - Charikar is by my approximation about 600 miles drawing straight line between the points. It could easily require a 1,000 mile road constrained by the topography as the area is. Assuming half to be existing baki roads, we will still need about 500 miles of road done in one of the most difficult terrains.
Now consider other factors.
4. US may not be ready to let go of the bakis. Othewise, they would have taken the fight directly or or encouraged Afghan forces to go after the bunnies in bakistan. This inspite of suffering quite a number of casualties at the hands of baki backed bunnies. That is very suggestive.The problem for the US is now purely public opinion, which is totally in favor of pulling out. Trump knows this well so close to elections. The Afghans need backup, esp. air support, which the US can't give without stationing some decent number of forces there. Hence the mulling about keeping a contractor force with a fleet of USAF assets under their command. If the Afghan govt forces get air cover, they should be able to manage and ruin TSP's schemes. But unfortunately, if the US pulls out air support wont be forthcoming and the war becomes very even, often tipping the scales in favor of bunnies backed by pukes
IF my reading of the US-Baki relationship is correct, it is likely that the US will apply its heavy thumb to tilt the scale in favor of bakis on our GB plans.
At the very least, the US/NATO simply refuse to bankroll the Indian play in GB and Afghanistan. Then what? Is India willing to build through GB to Afghanistan and defend Afghanistan on its own money?No. IMHO this option is only truly viable if the US/Nato bankroll it and at least tactily support GB takeover. Not possible otherwise. But for reasons pointed out earlier I don't see why this wont work to their advantage. Afterall, they have a much bigger fish to fry in China right now. It should be amply clear to any babu in SD whether a rising India or China will present a greater threat to US hegemony. While the public opinion is certainly in favor of pulling out my point wasn't just about the current pickle that US finds itself. US has a long-term interest in project Bakistan that they have taken over from the Brits. The basic premise of this project is that bakistan is needed in one form or another to keep India tied down to the Indian Sub-continent and the IOR region. That rational has not diminished, infact it will strengthen further as India makes progress. The only fly in the ointment is the rise of China which is striking an independent path, for which the US needs India as a balancer. My guess is that US will cheer for India getting stronger to balance China while still ensuring the survival of Bakistan just in case they need a rabid dog to bring India to heel at a future date.
Essentially, US is interested in the survival of bakistan for its long-term goals in the sub-continent and may not be willing to throw bakis under the Indian bus by handing over GB much less facilitating unhindered Indian access to Afghanistan via GB.
As far as air support is concerned, the USAF may pull out but the Air support for Afghan forces may be outsourced to contractors. IIRC, A snippet regarding some such discussion was posted by one member a while back. That kind of makes all the parts work, US pulls out officially but keeps the money flow to Afghan forces backed by Air support & Special ops contingent deployed by contractors. Keeps India out while still not allowing bunnies to take over Kabul. India will be cheered by US to grow and balance China. Bakistan will be happy to have its playground in Afghanistan without India.
5. There is another interesting bit (fact/analysis/whatever) on Afghanistan from while back. I heard that Najibulla would have survived but for stoppage of funds from USSR/Russia. While the payment was prompt, the Afghan government forces kept Kabul protected and with that Najibulla regimen.
Perhaps the situation is the same at present. US might pull out but keep funding the Afghan forces and thus keep bunnies out of Kabul. Americans have trained Afghan forces and they should know. Why give money to India and bring it in when the same money could keep Kabul from falling to the bunnies.Possibly, but short sighted imho. The bunnies with TSP will get revenues via the opium markets, more than enough to make it difficult for the Afghans to truly get any advantage over them. Net net, bunny breeding will continue unabated presenting a nasty threat to Indian and later world interests.There is another aspect to this - and this will be a great loss. Both the US and India have invested billions of $s and decades in developing infrastructure and institutions in Afghanistan, will they both be so willing to let these be destroyed?My latest note just above for background.
It all depends on what the US wants out of Afghanistan and Bakistan. US could have taken the war to bakistan but did not. The latest deal that was discussed between US and bunnies was only premised on safety of the western world. That is another hint. The next marker in this saga will come @ FATF. My bet, as also of others, is that bakistan will escape blacklisting but continue on the greylist. That would be another clear signal that US is not interested in demolishing bakistan but just keeping it under pressure. FATF is a wonderful opportunity to push bakistan further towards the edge without fighting but is the US interested?
As for the bunnies, the bakis would perhaps garuntee the bunnies keep their focus away from America. On investment, US could be willing to cut their losses and count their savings in years to come rather than worry about the sunk money.
That will leave India alone to figure out a way to counter the bunnies as well as protect its investment in Afghanistan. Not a good prospect but one that India should start planning for.