Pakistan suspends NATO supply over security issue
PESHAWAR: Pakistani officials said yesterday that a ban on NATO trucks at the main border crossing into Afghanistan will last until the government promises to safeguard security.
Officials closed the northwestern Torkham crossing, the quickest route to the Afghan capital Kabul from the port of Karachi, to NATO traffic on Thursday, just weeks after lifting a seven-month blockade on NATO trucks going into Afghanistan.
The Pakistani Taleban have vowed to attack NATO supplies and last Tuesday, one of the truck drivers was shot dead in the northwestern town of Jamrud.
|The route is open, you see, but it's not secure, so the drivers won't drive, so we don't get our supplies, tough luck infidels, oh and where's our money because Zardari wants his ten percent...|
“The security plan by the political administration, police and Frontier Corps (a paramilitary force) is being prepared and once it is finalized and approved, NATO trucks will be allowed to pass,” Bakhtiar Khan, a local administration official, told AFP.
Authorities in the northwest say they wrote to the federal government 11 days ago, asking them to finalize a security plan as soon as possible.
“But so far we have not received any response,” Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told AFP from the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
|The bureaucracy moves slowly, doncha know...|
Federal government officials were not immediately available to comment.
Islamabad closed its land routes to NATO convoys after US airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on Nov. 26, but on July 3 agreed to reopen them after Washington said sorry for the deaths.
|Not until their palms are correctly greased...|
At Pakistan's southwestern crossing into Afghanistan, officials said no restrictions have been placed on NATO supply trucks, but that traffic had thinned.
“Fifty-eight trucks are parked at Chaman awaiting clearance from Afghan officials,” clearing agent Ashraf Khan told AFP.
In Karachi, many truckers won't leave without security guarantees and compensation, said Akram Khan Durrani, president of the All Pakistan Oil Tankers Owners Association.
“Until that, we are not going anywhere,” he told AFP. “It is too dangerous to take our vehicles out without solid guarantees. The situation has changed dangerously as many political and religious groups are against it and the Taleban could strike anywhere if we have no security.”
Posted by: Steve White