Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Stratfor: Kurram agency road is open. More access. Better control

Stratfor has released a map of Kurram agency in Pakistan showing that a key road has been opened to Parachinar.  This is a volatile area, in any period.  The article says that the road has been closed since 2007 because of fighting between Sunni and Shia Pashtun tribesmen, a  familiar problem in this area.  The Stratfor article says that 
. . . Kurram agency in the past has been used to project influence from the east into Afghanistan and particularly Kabul — which is only 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Pakistani border — making its value to the Haqqani network obvious. Both Parachinar and Thal are areas where the Haqqani network and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are known to operate safe-houses and use for logistics and training purposes, and opening up the road would facilitate travel for the militants between the two cities.
The road opening seems to be owing to a truce agreement by the two sides, and Stratfor thinks that Haqqani might prefer to close the road.  That there will be more military traffic on this road has to be taken for granted.  Improvements in transport facilities have a large influence on the course of affairs; that this road is now open says a lot about the politics of the region as well as the quality of transport facilities.  

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