The main problem confronting Pentagon planners is choosing the best exit route, an option that has substantially decreased thanks in large part to Washington’s failure on the diplomatic front, for example, with Russia over the ongoing political crisis gripping Ukraine.
One of the most reliable methods of moving military equipment in and out of Afghanistan has been via the Northern Distribution Network, 3,000 miles of winding railroad that passes through Central Asia into Kazakhstan, Russia and through parts of northern Europe to the sea.
In fact, 75 percent of military supplies into Afghanistan were delivered by this slow but reliable route.
However, recent violent protests in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, which led to the overthrow of the government and Crimea voting in a referendum to become part of the Russian Federation - an event that Washington has attempted to label as a “Russian military invasion” – have put a severe strain on Russia-US relations.
One result of the diplomatic breakdown is that Russia now refuses to permit NATO military cargoes from passing through its territory....