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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

You Can’t Make this Up!


Pakistan to impose Nato transit tax following 'friendly fire' troop deaths

Plan to tax all supplies sent through Pakistan territory is latest retaliation for soldiers shelled by US helicopter
Nato supply trucks wait for clearance to cross into Afghanistan by Pakistani officials.
Pakistan officials keep Nato supply trucks waiting for clearance to cross the border into Afghanistan. Photograph: Wali Khan Shinwari/EPA
Pakistan is drawing up plans to tax Nato for using its territory to supply troops in Afghanistan, in retaliation for the recent death of its soldiers in a "friendly fire" incident on the border.
Under the proposal, a transit tax or fee will be imposed on every shipping container sent through Pakistan, senior military and civilian officials have told the Guardian. The move follows the death of 24 soldiers shelled by a US helicopter at a checkpoint last month.
The tax is likely to add tens of millions of dollars a year to the cost of the decade-long war.
It is thought that the government would levy around $1,500 (£970) per shipping container sent through Pakistan, along with separate charges for each fuel tanker that goes through to Afghanistan.
Islamabad suspended the movement of Nato supplies to the landlocked country altogether after the deaths on 26 November. The tax on Nato supplies would provide Pakistan with a face-saving way of reopening the route. Following the deaths at the border, Pakistan also terminated the American use of a small airbase, Shamsi, and boycotted an international conference on Afghanistan.
The international coalition in Afghanistan has benefited from free transit of goods through Pakistan for nearly a decade, under agreements forged with Islamabad soon after the overthrow of the Taliban regime. Although the coalition has reduced its logistical dependence on Pakistan over the last few years, around a third of supplies are still trucked through Pakistan, which is the cheapest route to Afghanistan.
A senior Pakistani official said that the free transit of US and Nato military supplies was allowed under two agreements signed in 2002, when dictator General Pervez Musharraf was ruling the country.
"Under the agreement, Nato got to use our transport infrastructure for no cost, but what we got in return, we don't know. It is high time to revisit the agreement," said the official, who did not want to be named, as the new policy has not yet been announced. "The agreement appears to be one-sided."
The levy would also confirm the dramatically changing nature of Pakistan's ties with its western partners, from a strategic alliance to a transactional relationship, with deep suspicions on both sides. The prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, said on Wednesday that "tougher" new rules of engagement were being worked out with Nato, "with the aim of providing more respect to our sovereignty".
There is intense anger in the Pakistani military over the deaths, which it believes were deliberate in an attempt to see how far the country could be pushed. An outraged public is demanding an end all co-operation with the US-led coalition.
The supplies to Nato's 150,000 troops are shipped to Karachi and then trucked across Pakistan, entering Afghanistan either in its south, through the Chaman border crossing, or via the Khyber pass to eastern Afghanistan.
A much longer and more expensive supply route has been developed through Europe and central Asia, which enters northern Afghanistan, while the rest of the goods are flown in, the most costly option. Four years ago, around 80% of the supplies went through Pakistan, but Nato now claims that only a third comes that way.
It is estimated that some 4,000 containers a month carry sustainment supplies to Nato troops from all three of the routes, meaning that about 1,300 containers would pass through Pakistan. In addition, some 1,000 fuel tankers also go from Pakistan each month to Afghanistan.
Pakistan complains that the heavy trucks have ruined its roads, while it charges nothing for the transit facility. However, the containers are transported by Pakistani companies, earning valuable foreign exchange for the country and employing some 40,000 people in the industry.
The trucks, which do not have any security escort, are frequently the target of militants and robbers. A further problem for the industry is the bureaucracy at Karachi port, which means the paperwork for each container takes a week or longer to clear.
A spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, Colonel Gary Kolb, said that negotiations with the Pakistani government over the supplies issue were ongoing.
"It would be inappropriate of Isaf to comment on those discussions at this time," said Kolb.
Nadeem Khan, chief executive of Raaziq International, one of the major Pakistani companies involved in carrying Nato supplies, said that the imposition of a transit fee would actually benefit the trade if it were accompanied by streamlined clearance at Karachi port and protection for the trucks.
"If Pakistan provides speed of passage and security too, then everyone would be a winner," said Khan.
Separately, it was announced that President Asif Zardari, who was flown to hospital in Dubai last week after suffering heart trouble, would be discharged on Thursday. However, he will remain in Dubai to rest, and it is unclear when he will return to Pakistan.

30 comments:

  1. A perfectly reasonable mordida. Besides the roads have potholes from all the trucking.

    Here, the city imposed a fee on water run off, per square foot of paved or concrete area, into the storm water drain system, whence the water goes directly into the Snake River. Which is where it would have gotten to anyways, if nature had her slower ways.

    This pissed everyone off, especially the big box stores, and the Malls, and the lawsuits were filed, and the court finally found it was a tax and not a fee, and wasn't properly imposed.

    Therefore, refunds are coming.

    We could take the above issue to the Paki Supreme Court, maybe.

    b

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  2. .

    The tax is likely to add tens of millions of dollars a year to the cost of the decade-long war.



    How would you like us to pay for that, I.O.U. or platinum coin?


    .

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  3. Or, deduct it from your $7 Billion/Yr allowance?

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  4. Washington Examiner has endorsed Romney.

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  5. Romney has the misfortune of being an earnest man running in an ironic time, and the leitmotif of the Republican race so far has been the search for the "anti-Romney." Party activists reached out to several men who declined to run, and then Republican voters lavished their affections on, successively, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and now Newt Gingrich, all the while keeping Romney's poll numbers hovering around 25 percent.

    They have been searching for a candidate who shared their conservative principles, who had strength of character, and who, above all, could beat Barack Obama. We believe this candidate has been hiding in plain sight.

    Mitt Romney is not "too perfect," as some political analysts have argued, but he is perfect enough.

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  6. How come all those backed up trucks at the crossing haven't been blown up by the ISI yet?

    Seems ripe for the picking.

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  7. Since the Russian Duma election, Russian markets have been swooning. The Ruble is off about 3.6 percent.

    ...

    The two major stock indices, RTS and MICEX, are down about 11 percent.

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  8. By April 1789, George Washington had certainly done his duty for the United States of America. He fought back the threat from European powers not once, but twice during his career (first in the French and Indian War then in the Revolution), and had been integral in establishing this new form of government.

    ...

    That should serve as a lesson to the literally half dozen Republican leaders across the country who either chose not to run, or dropped out this primary cycle. Your country needs you.

    Follow in the footsteps of Washington: put aside your personal desires and serve your nation just as he did. The current field is manifestly insufficient, and America requires somebody better.

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  9. Sure, demand is important — there is no point in letting it collapse. But this won’t be over until all three structural problems get fixed.

    Debt needs to be paid down to manageable levels, a new reserve currency needs to be created, and the euro needs to be put out of its misery. None of these are simple tasks, and none will be done quickly.

    The global economy will eventually get back to normal growth. But the truth is, it is going to be a long, hard haul — and a lot of work needs to be done it get back on track.

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  10. Their is not enough transportation fuel being produced for "Global" growth to get back to normal.

    China can grow. The rest of Asia can grow. The Oil Producing/Exporting nations can grow.

    But, either the U.S., or Europe has to stop growing. It's looking like it's going to be Europe.

    This problem will take, easily, a decade to work out. It may take longer.

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  11. 34. westerncanadian:

    Herman van Rompuy, President of the EU. Apparently he is a big fan of old Star Trek episodes but in his EUrocratian way is upset at the TV.

    In Star Trek there is Chekhov who is Russian, Scotty who is Scottish, Uhura who is Black and Sulu who is Japanese, but there are no EU officials. Herman asked Nigel Farage why there is no-one from the EU in Star Trek.

    Nigel drew breath between insults and replied with a sardonic grin, “That’s because it takes place in the future”.

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  12. :)

    heh, good one Sam, and Nigel


    b

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  13. .

    Romney gets coveted Christine O'Donnell endorsement.

    When questioned about the endorsement, she was asked doesn't the fact that he has changed his mind on so many important issues bother you? Ms. O'Donnell said, "That's one of the things that I like about him, because he's been consistent since he changed his mind."


    In other news, Gary Bussy has retracted his endorsement of Newt Ginrich saying "It's not time for me to be endorsing anyone at this time!"


    These events really could shake up the race.

    .

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  14. You can't make this up either.

    Donofrio: Natural Born Supreme Court Citations Disappear

    Leo may have gone back to playing poker in Vegas, as I haven't seen anything by or about him in a while. He was one of the few worth reading on this question.

    b

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  15. That's a great quote, Quirk, a great quote.

    She is nearing genius, which, according to Scot Fitzgerald, was the ability to hold two opposing thoughts in the mind simultaneously and not getting upset.

    Christine woulda had my vote.

    b

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  16. .


    Christine woulda had my vote.


    I don't doubt it.


    .

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  17. She truly has an insight above the normal into the nature of things.


    b

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  18. .

    She truly has an insight above the normal into the nature of things.



    Well hell, she was a witch.


    .

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  19. One might almost say, an abnormal understanding of the nature of things.


    b

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  20. As I recall, that is the very reason Sam was so taken with her.

    What did he say --

    "We need a little hiss and fire, a little panky and hanky, back there in D.C."

    That's not quite exactly right but I'll never forget it.


    b

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  21. .


    You mean like Aby Normal from Young Frankenstein?


    .

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  22. Yeah, I think so.


    b

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  23. .

    That's not quite exactly right but I'll never forget it.



    :)

    Jeez Bob, you are something else.


    .

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  24. An O'Donnell/Paul ticket would have had the masses flocking to the Natural Law Party.

    A Witch and a 9/11 Truther.

    dang

    b

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  25. .

    I'm out of here.

    Gotta get a little XBOX time in before I hit the sack.


    .

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  26. Got to go to bed, Q.

    We have a new tenant this coming semester, a player on the football team with a name that can't be pronounced that starts with Q. No one can pronounce it not even himself.

    He says, "Just call me Q."

    nite

    b

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  27. I think I said we could use a little hocus pocus in there.

    Man, that was awhile ago.

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  28. Spanish youth unemployment 50%.

    Talk of a lost generation.

    ReplyDelete