The U.S. announced that four
helicopter engines, worth over $13 million, had been hijacked from trucks
carrying cargo from Pakistan to Afghanistan. Over the last few months, bandit gangs in Pakistan have begun going
after trucks carrying cargo destined for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Since Afghanistan is landlocked, and only has a few rail lines (coming from the
north, not Pakistan), most cargo comes into the country via road. The trucking
companies have long had security arrangements with the tribes whose territory
the roads pass through. This system has help up until this year, when fighting
between pro and anti-Taliban tribes (or factions within tribes) led to a
breakdown in road security. This will mean lost business for the trucking
companies, as the U.S. will begin flying in the more expensive cargo, and
forcing the truckers to share losses for hijacked cargo. Trucking is a big
business in this part of the world, and the increase in banditry is causing a
fuss in the Pakistani government. The truckers have some political clout, and
they are using it. The bandits can get at least a few pennies on the dollar,
via a thriving black market, for any military goods stolen.