NATO supplies to Afghanistan blocked over NATO air strike in NW Pakistan   2011-11-26 21:03:28 FeedbackPrintRSS

by Misbah Saba Malik

ISLAMABAD, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani security forces have blocked the NATO supplies to Afghanistan following a Saturday morning's NATO air strike at an army checkpost in northwest Pakistan, which has so far reportedly killed 28 Pakistani troops and injured 15 others, reported local Urdu TV channel Duniya.

According to the local media reports, an unknown number of NATO gunship helicopters launched an air strike at an army checkpost in the Salala village in the Baizai town of Mohmmand Agency, a tribal area in northwest Pakistan, which borders Afghanistan, killing a large number of the security personnel posted there, including two officers.

An estimated 50 security personnel were present at the post when the strike was launched by NATO helicopters, said the local media.

Other local media said that actually three army checkposts were attacked by the NATO helicopters instead of just one, but so far there is no official confirmation about this.

At a meeting scheduled late Saturday night, the army will give a detailed report about the attack to the Pakistani Prime Minister when he will fly back to the country's capital Islamabad after a public address in Pakistan's central city of Multan.

Following the reports about the NATO air strike in northwestern Pakistan, there first came the news about the suspension by the Pakistani security forces of the NATO supplies to Afghanistan at a border checkpoint in Torkham, one of the two supply routes for NATO troops in northwestern Pakistan.

Hundreds of NATO supply trucks are seen stranded on the way leading to the Torkham border checkpoint following the suspension, said local residents.

Hours after this, local media Duniya said that the Pakistani security forces have also blocked the NATO supplies to Afghanistan from another route in the country's southwest Chaman city.

It is reported that currently nearly 70 percent of the NATO supplies are shipped into Afghanistan via the land route of Pakistan. The NATO supplies to Afghanistan are first sent to Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi and then transported into Afghanistan for the 140,000-plus NATO troops in Afghanistan through the two border checkpoints via the land route of Pakistan.

Saturday's NATO cross-border air strike into the Pakistani side, particularly at a Pakistani army checkpost, is considered to be a very serious violation of the Pakistan's space territorial rights. The attack has drawn nation-wide protest and condemnation from various walks of life in Pakistan.

Pakistani Prime Minister strongly condemned the attack and described it as an attack on Pakistan's sovereignty. The prime minister will hold a meeting scheduled late Saturday night with the political and army leaders to discuss the matter, said official sources.

Pakistani foreign ministry has raised the issue "in the strongest term" to the U.S. side both in Washington and Islamabad and strongly protested over the attack.

Pakistani army chief General Kayani also condemned the attack and said that the attack is against the sovereignty of Pakistan and military action should be taken against the responsible elements.

The Pakistani side has also demanded NATO troops to investigate into the incident immediately.

Opposition party leaders including Nawaz Sharif of PML-N and Imran Khan of PTI have also strongly protested against the NATO air strike and demanded the government to take a serious notice of the incident.

The cross-border air strikes by NATO helicopters into the Pakistani side often occurred in the past. On Sept. 30, 2010, the NATO helicopters launched a strike in Pakistan's northwest tribal area of Kurram Agency bordering Afghanistan, killing three Pakistani troops. The incident sparked off a nation-wide protest both from the government, army and people of Pakistan.

In the wake of the incident, the Pakistani government closed two border checkpoints at Torkham and Chaman for the NATO supplies and the suspension of the NATO supplies to Afghanistan had not been lifted days after the Pakistani government had received a written apology from the NATO troops at its demand. During the suspension period, thousands of NATO supply trucks were stranded on the ways from Pakistan to Afghanistan and hundreds of them had been attacked and torched, causing a heavy loss for the NATO troops.

Special Report: Afghanistan Situation


Editor: Zhang Xiang
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