Pakistan halts NATO supplies to Afghanistan after attack

Pakistan shut down the main land route for NATO supplies into Afghanistan after officials accused NATO of killing Pakistani troops in the fourth cross-border attack this week.

Updated: Sep 30, 2010, 21:09 PM IST

Peshawar: Pakistan shut down the main
land route for NATO supplies into Afghanistan on Thursday after
officials accused NATO of killing Pakistani troops in the
fourth cross-border attack this week.

NATO and the Pakistani government said they were
investigating the incident in the Kurram district of
Pakistan`s tribal belt, which Washington has branded
an al Qaeda headquarters and hub of militants fighting in
Afghanistan.

The region is being targeted by a record number of US
drone strikes and was reportedly where al Qaeda hatched a plot
to attack cities in Britain, France and Germany uncovered by
Western intelligence agencies.

"We have suspended NATO supply trucks for the time
being due to security reasons," an official in Pakistan`s
Frontier Corps paramilitary unit told a news agency in the northwestern city of Peshawar on condition of anonymity.

Two officials at the Torkham border crossing in
Pakistan`s northwestern Khyber district and a US diplomat
confirmed that NATO convoys were not being allowed to cross.

Khyber is on the main NATO supply route into
Afghanistan, where more than 152,000 US and NATO forces are
fighting a nine-year Taliban insurgency.

Pakistan has condemned cross-border air strikes by
NATO helicopters pursuing militants into its territory. NATO
said it was investigating today’s incident, but has said
previously it has the right to self-defence.

Washington considers Pakistan`s border areas with
Afghanistan the most dangerous place on Earth and has this
month significantly stepped up a covert drone war on Taliban
and al Qaeda-linked militants holed up in the area.

At least 21 such strikes have been recorded in
September, including one last Saturday believed to have killed
Sheikh Fateh, the purported al Qaeda operations chief for
Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Although Pakistan is a key US ally, its powerful
military has been accused in the West of playing a double game
by supporting Afghan Taliban.

CIA chief Leon Panetta was in Pakistan today for talks
with the country`s leadership following reports of a major
European terror plot.

Pakistan, which is under US pressure to do more to
crack down on al Qaeda-linked extremists and launch a ground
offensive in the district of North Waziristan, has dismissed
the reports.

PTI