An anonymous friend of mine who works for the US Government studying contractors tells me:
“In Afghanistan, [shipping]’s not as big a problem [as between Kuwait and Iraq] because the shipping companies are mostly local and they know who to pay off. If you look at pictures of Afghan and Pakistani trucks online, you can see they are covered with jewelry and paintings, which serve to announce their alliances. They call them ‘jingle trucks’… that’s why convoy security isn’t as difficult in Afghanistan.”
“Holy crap,” I said, paraphrasing myself for this post, “That’s the Silk Road. Still.”
Lest we forget as creators of fictions, I will state this: systems, including Modern systems, are not perfect. They don’t make a homogeneous, Star Trek world. There are local needs that aren’t satisfied by distant, putatively benevolent systems of control. There are traditions that are kept, social mores that evolved for the particular requirements of that area of the world. They don’t change just because there are teleporters.