The Defense Department's US Transportation Command is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to find alternative routes of supply to Afghanistan. Documents obtained by EurasiaNet indicate that efforts to both ease and widen the flow of non-lethal materiel to NATO and US troops fighting the Taliban could potentially require cooperation between the United States and Iran.
With a helping hand from South Korea, the United States has reestablished a strategic presence in Uzbekistan - sort of. The development provides a boost for US efforts to press an offensive against Islamic militants in Afghanistan, and offers evidence that Russia's influence in Central Asia is waning.
The year-and-a-half-old investigation into the murder of journalist Alisher Saipov, an ethnic Uzbek who was gunned down in Kyrgyzstan's southern capital of Osh, has gained fresh impetus with the recent recovery of what police say is the murder weapon.
February 19 was a topsy-turvy day for the US war effort in Afghanistan. On the down side, Kyrgyzstan's parliament voted to terminate the lease of an American air base used to support military operations in Afghanistan. On a more positive note, a supply train left Latvia bound for Afghanistan, signaling the opening of a long-anticipated and much needed northern supply route.
Even if the United States emerges victorious in the battle for Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan, it still faces a big challenge in winning the war in Afghanistan. The only likelihood at present is that Russia, through its meddling in Central Asia, will pose a major obstacle to US and European Union efforts to defeat the Taliban insurgency.