Pakistan bars trucks loaded with NATO supplies

November 16th, 2008 - 6:33 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanIslamabad, Nov 16 (DPA) Pakistan has temporarily barred trucks carrying supplies for US and NATO troops in land-locked Afghanistan from using a key route after this week’s rebel assault on a convoy, officials said Sunday.Militants Monday looted 13 trucks carrying food supplies and two Humvee armoured vehicles on the 35-km stretch of road, popularly known as Khyber pass, and seized more than two dozen people travelling with the convoy.

“The traffic has been suspended due to security reasons and, hopefully, it will resume tomorrow (Monday),” said Akbar Khan, a government official in the Khyber tribal district bordering the Afghan province of Nangarhar.

Hundreds of lorries and tractor-trailers have been stopped along a main road in Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province, until the route opens, Khan said.

More than 300 vehicles transport Kabul-bound cargo, mostly coming from the southern port city of Karachi, through the Khyber Pass each day.

Security in Khyber has deteriorated in recent months during which government troops have waged military offensives against Al Qaeda and Taliban-linked militants in the tribal region.

Frustrated by the infiltration of Taliban fighters into Afghanistan to carry out attacks on the international troops, the US forces have also stepped up their airstrikes on militant positions inside Pakistani territory.

Pakistan, a front-line US ally, has strongly protested the unilateral airstrikes, warning that the nuclear-armed Islamic republic could review its support for the US war in the region.

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