U.S. Purchases All Afghanistan Fuel From Russians, Former Soviet Countries

U.S. wholly reliant on former Soviet powers for Afghanistan war effort.

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But despite these disputes, the gas keeps coming.

"DLA Energy is not aware of any Russian fuel interruptions," says Wright when asked if any of these international incidents has stemmed or stopped the flow of gas. Each U.S. contractor must set up the infrastructure to accommodate any shifts in supply or price, he says. However, that has not yet been necessary.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Dallas English stands next to testing equipment in the fuels laboratory at Bagram Airfield in eastern Afghanistan. This measures the quality of the fuel they purchase and use for U.S. military planes. Any irregularities in fuel samples could ground an entire air wing if they can’t determine the cause of the problem.

General cooperation between the two nations largely depends on the issue. Russia and the U.S. are closely allied on the premise of defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan, which routed Soviet forces more than 20 years ago.

"We were basically doing something the Russians wanted to do but didn't have the capacity to," says CSIS' Kuchins.

[PHOTOS: Inside a Combat Landing in Afghanistan]

It wasn't America's first desire to become so reliant on the Russians, or any one country for that matter. However, the U.S. drone campaign in Pakistan has prompted that country to cut off America's use of its land for supply lines. Russia's ability to exert control over its former Soviet empire, Kuchins says, allows the U.S. to turn to the "Northern Distribution Network" and lean on allies to get in and out of landlocked Afghanistan to the north.

Yet incidents like the Georgian invasion have brought that relationship to the brink of collapse.

"It was a huge blow. The U.S.-Russia relationship had been declining for several years," says Kuchins. "Thank god cooler heads prevailed."

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