(KABUL, Afghanistan) — In a sign of what is to come, the Pentagon has started shipping heavy equipment out of Afghanistan in anticipation of its major military withdrawal scheduled for sometime in 2014.
This was the same process used by the U.S. when it prepared for pulling out troops from Iraq at the end of 2011.
According to a spokesman for American forces in Afghanistan, as many as 50 shipping containers with supplies were ferried out of Afghanistan through Pakistan — the same route the Pentagon has used for more than a decade to bring arms to U.S. and coalition soldiers.
It’s expected that Pakistan will serve as the main passageway for tens of thousands of containers of supplies from now through the end of next year.
In order to keep the transport of equipment flowing smoothly, Washington has to maintain good relations with Islamabad, which shut down the route for seven months between 2011 and 2012 following a U.S. “friendly fire” air strike that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Eliott C. McLaughlin, Holly Yan and Euan McKirdy, CNN Newswire
Chieu Luu and Huizhong Wu, CNN