Truck ban hampers Afghan supply line
PESHAWAR, Pakistan - Container trucks and oil tankers bound for US and NATO troops in Afghanistan have suspended deliveries after militant attacks prompted Pakistan to block a major supply line, highlighting the vulnerability of the mountain passage.
The ban in northwest Pakistan, confirmed yesterday, was intended to allow for a review of security in the famed Khyber Pass.
The convoys currently have little to no security detail as they travel to Afghanistan with vital food, fuel, and other goods.
The suspension could be lifted as early as today with new procedures in place, said Bakhtiar Khan, a number-two government representative in the area.
Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters have instigated much of the escalating violence along the lengthy, porous Afghan-Pakistan border. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan have accused each other of not doing enough to stop militant activity, while US missile strikes in Pakistani territory have intensified tensions.
Last Monday, dozens of suspected Taliban militants near the Khyber Pass hijacked several trucks whose load included Humvees for the US-led coalition.
US and NATO officials in Afghanistan have sought to downplay threats posed to the convoys coming through Pakistan, but NATO has said it is close to striking pacts with Central Asian countries that would let it transport "non-lethal" supplies from north of Afghanistan.