Supplies for US forces suspended in Pakistan

Western military supplies to Afghanistan were suspended through Pakistan's Khyber Pass after fighters attacked an army camp.

Supplies for US forces suspended in Pakistan

Western military supplies to Afghanistan were suspended through Pakistan's Khyber Pass on Monday after fighters attacked an army camp, killing a paramilitary soldier and wounding 10, an official said.

The United States-led Western troops have been unpopular in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a result of invasion and also challenged by toppled government, Taliban.

The supplies are likely to become even more important as the United States builds up its Afghanistan force, perhaps doubling it to 60,000 soldiers, this year.

A government official in the region said supplies through the Khyber had been suspended indefinitely after fighters attacked the military camp with rocket-propelled grenades.

"We're preparing for an assault. We have imposed curfew in Landikotal and Jamrud. The border is also closed," said Zar Bacha Khan, referring to main towns in the Khyber region.

The U.S. military sends 75 percent of supplies for the Afghan war through or over Pakistan, including 40 percent of the fuel for its troops to stay in Afghan territory, the U.S. Defence Department says.

Pakistani Taliban have stepped up attacks on the main route through the Khyber Pass since last year and security forces responded with an offensive in late December.

The Sunday night attack was the most serious in the region since then.

The other Pakistani supply route is through the border of Chaman, southwest of Khyber, to the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. There have been very few attacks on the Pakistani section of that route but more on the Afghan side.

Nevertheless, the attacks have exposed the vulnerability of the supply chain and forced NATO to look for alternative routes, including through Central Asia into northern Afghanistan.

Reuters
Last Mod: 19 Ocak 2009, 17:16
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