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PAKISTAN BLOCKED SUPPLY TO NATO IN AFGHANISTAN

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Pakistan has blocked, ON Thursday 09/30/2010, a vital supply route for NATO-ISAF in Afghanistan in apparent retaliation for an alleged cross-border helicopter raid by NATO troops that killed three Pakistani frontier soldiers.

On 09/24/2010 NATO helicopters fired on targets in Pakistan at least two times, killing several suspected fighters they allegedly pursued over the border from Afghanistan (see – khost 09.24.10). Pakistan’s government protested against the attacks, which came in a month during which there have been an unprecedented number of UAV drone missile attacks in the country’s Northwest FATA region.

Pakistan also threatened to stop providing protection to NATO-ISAF convoys if the military alliance’s helicopters attacked targeted inside Pakistan again. There are already reports of 100 NATO supply lorries already being held up at the Torkham border post in retaliation for the earlier cross-border NATO raids.

Khyber Pass is on the main NATO supply route through Pakistan into Afghanistan. It is reported that up to 250 vehicles a day cross the Pakistan border into Afghanistan as part of the NATO supply chain (see also – Khyber 09.06.10). Pakistan’s relations with NATO are already strained over the intensifying drone attacks in the border regions (see – All-Europe Plot). Indeed, on Friday 10/01/2010 dawn, suspected militants in southern Pakistan, Sindh Province, just North of Karachi, have destroyed at least 27 tankers carrying fuel for NATO forces in Afghanistan, officials said.

NATO has said previously that it has the right to self-defence. The multinational force has on at least one other occasion acknowledged mistakenly killing Pakistani security forces stationed close to the border.

The surge in suspected Taliban activity inside Afghanistan and apparent increased willingness by NATO to attack targets on the border, or just inside Pakistan, could be a sign the international forces are losing patience with Pakistan.

The country has long been accused of harboring Afghan Taliban fighters in its lawless tribal regions (see also – PAKISTAN REPORT)..
* The USA ambassador in Pakistan officially apologized, on Wednesday 10/06/2010, for violating the sovereignty of Pakistan and killing unintentionally 3 Pakistani border guard soldiers.
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