Pakistan reopens Torkham border route for NATO supplies to Afghanistan

21:13, October 09, 2010      

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Pakistan has decided to reopen supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan after a 10-day blockade of the supplies trucks due to NATO helicopters airstrike in the country's tribal region, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

Pakistan stopped hundreds of oil tankers and trucks, carrying supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan on Sept. 30, after the NATO helicopters shelled a Pakistani post in Kurram tribal agency and killed at least three soldiers.

The Pentagon, NATO and the U.S. envoy in Islamabad have apologized on the incursion after an investigation this week that found NATO forces guilty.

Hundreds of NATO oil tankers and supplies trucks had been standing along the main highway between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the country's northwest and southwest.

Taliban militants stepped up attacks on NATO trucks across the country while taking advantage of the parked vehicles.

"After assessing the security situation in all its aspects, the government has decided to reopen the NATO/ISAF supply from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border at Torkham with immediate effect," the Foreign Ministry said.

"Our relevant authorities are now in the process of coordinating with authorities on the other side of the border to ensure smooth resumption of the supply traffic," the Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

In the latest attack, suspected militants torched 29 NATO oil tankers in southwest Pakistan early Saturday, police said.

It is the 6th attack on NATO supplies vehicles in Pakistan since early October and most have been claimed by Taliban militants.

Police said that unidentified gunmen fired rockets at oil tankers in Bolan district, some 200 km from Quetta, the capital of Balochistan. A security man from local tribal force was injured. The attack at 1:30 a.m., also damaged four shops, witnesses said.

While claiming responsibility for four of the recent attacks on NATO convoys across Pakistan, Taliban said the attack is a revenge for the NATO cross-border incursions and increased U.S. drone strikes. Taliban also threatened more such attacks unless the NATO stops cross-border fighting.

Source: Xinhua


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