Improving Strategic Access to Afghanistan
Urgently needed 57mm aviation rockets are off-loaded at Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan.  (Courtesy photo).  



Colonel Kurt Ryan, US Army

The views expressed in the document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the the U.S. Army War College, the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.



In 2009, U.S. troop commitments are increasing in Afghanistan, complicating the ability to deploy and sustain forces operating in the region. To deploy and sustain up to sixty-thousand U.S. forces in Afghanistan, there must be a sound and executable strategic access plan. Thus the U.S. must successfully tackle the challenges of a larger military footprint in Afghanistan, including diplomatic, economic, and military impacts on nations in the region. This paper explores the processes involved to deploy and sustain U.S. forces operating in Afghanistan and addresses options to assist in overcoming the strategic access challenges. These options include: strengthening regional partnerships; reducing dependence on Afghan-Pakistani ground lines of communication; re-establishing a Northern Distribution Network; seeking alternative, regional air bases; and improving In-Transit Visibility technology.

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