KABUL (Reuters) – Four U.S. helicopter engines worth more than $13 million have been stolen while they were being trucked from Afghanistan to a port in Pakistan to be shipped home, the U.S. military said.
Most supplies for the U.S. military in landlocked Afghanistan, including fuel, are transported through Pakistan, and militants in both Pakistan and Afghanistan have been stepping up attacks on shipments.
A U.S. military spokesman said the engines were being transported by a Pakistani trucking company when they went missing some time in the month before April 10.
It was not known if the shipment went missing on the Afghan side of the border or in Pakistan, Sergeant Mark Swart said on Thursday.
“We don’t have the information on exactly where it disappeared. We just know that it did not get to the port,” he said.
The U.S. military declined to say what type of helicopters the engines were for but said the shipment was a part of a routine redeployment of the 82nd Airborne Division.
Militants in Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan regularly attack trucks carrying supplies for foreign forces in Afghanistan and the dependence on routes through violence-plagued northwest Pakistan is a concern for foreign forces.
Most supplies go through two crossing points on the Afghan-Pakistani border, one at the Khyber pass and the other to the southwest, at the Afghan town of Spin Boldak in Kandahar province.
NATO and Russia signed a land transit agreement in April allowing the Western alliance to use Russian land to deliver non-lethal supplies to its troops in Afghanistan.