Getting troops out of Afghanistan is the easy part:
But after 11-plus years of war, the accumulated American hardware in Afghanistan amounts to more than 600,000 pieces of equipment valued at $28 billion. In that arsenal are systems that always present challenges to international shipping, including MRAP mine-resistant troop transports and Stryker infantry fighting vehicles, each built with tons of armor, and heavy tractor-trailers and tankers.
So far, the heavy vehicles have all been shipped out by air because Afghanistan is landlocked, it has a primitive road system and the Taliban remain strong in many parts of the country. But the real problem to withdrawing from Afghanistan is the same one that has helped make fighting there so difficult: the tenuous relationship with neighboring Pakistan, which offers the cheapest land route to the closest seaport but through border crossings that are unreliable.
“Afghanistan is not Iraq, and it’s harder,” said Lt. Gen. Raymond V. Mason, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for logistics. “No. 1, it’s landlocked. And we have no Kuwait. We have no ‘catcher’s mitt,’ no shock absorber. In Iraq, on the last day, you could still send stuff across the border into Kuwait, and absorb it there.”