Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pakistan halts NATO supply convoys into Afghanistan

The Daily Times reports from Pakistan that “Hundreds of [NATO] trucks and containers had been stopped in Peshawar” after the political agent of the Khyber tribal agency shut down traffic along the road on Saturday. “Supplies had been suspended following incidents of looting of trucks and containers carrying oil and other supplies for the NATO forces battling Taliban in Afghanistan.”

Reports quote Prof. Shaun Gregory of the Pakistan Security Research Unit at the U.K.’S University of Bradford as saying, “These attacks allow Pakistan to keep its finger on NATO’s jugular.”

Afghanistan is a landlocked country and this is the supply line on which Afghanistan-based U.S. and NATO forces rely for an estimated 75 per cent of their fuel, food and other logistical goods.

Taliban forces have hijacked several NATO supply trucks over the past month and Pakistan authorities seem unable or unwilling to protect them.

While NATO is reported to be close to reaching alternative deals with Central Asian countries to the north of Afghanistan, the bulk of its supplies now arrive in the Pakistan port city of Karachi, travel north to Peshawar and then west to the Torkham before crossing into Afghanistan. Other supplies pass through the Chaman border crossing point in Baluchistan or arrive by air.

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