One of the big payoffs from the much touted (yet deeply underwhelming) "reset" of relations with Moscow was sustainment of the northern distribution network, a logistical lifeline to Afghanistan which cuts a hot path through several former Soviet republics. This was to be step one in a larger warming trend with Russia, successfully clearing the air between Moscow and Washington after the Georgian War of 2008.
Unfortunately, Obama's grand diplomatic coup has proven long on rhetoric, short on action. An agreement that was intended to spin the relief valve on the principle Afghanistan-Pakistan supply route --by supporting 12 military airlift flights a day through Russian airspace--has fallen flat:
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told RFE/RL today that Russia has allowed only one flight of lethal U.S. military equipment to transit its airspace en route to Afghanistan, despite a July agreement
envisioning as many as 12 flights a day.
Though the U.S. ambassador to Moscow claims that there were actually five flights, with 11 planned, the pact clearly hasn't lived up to expectations. And with troops currently surging into the Hindu Kush, there's still no sign that the operational tempo through the NDN has quickened.
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