Supplies for US-led forces start moving from Pakistan again

By Muhammad Najeeb, IANS,

Islamabad : Twenty trucks carrying goods for the US-led forces Monday left for Afghanistan from Pakistan’s tribal areas though more than 100 trucks were still waiting to move forward after a series of militant attacks, a security official said.

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The official said that more than 100 trucks were still parked in Khyber Agency of the tribal areas because of the security situation and attacks on the transport caravans by militants.

Most of the goods for the US, NATO and ISAF forces are transported through Pakistan under the transit trade agreement with Afghanistan.

While the forces also use air routes for emergency aid, the preferred route is through Pakistan as Iran had denied such a facility to the forces operating in Afghanistan since the operation in the war-torn country was launched after the 9/11 attacks.

On Nov 10, twelve trucks loaded with food and other goods were hijacked with 26 members of the transport staff from Khyber Agency when they were going to Afghanistan.

Ten drivers of the trucks have been released while others are still missing. All the 12 vehicles have been recovered from different areas of Khyber Agency but the militants had looted all goods from them.

Since then the transporters had refused to travel to Afghanistan without security.

“Now the adequate security have been provided and 20 trucks have left for Afghanistan,” the official told IANS.

Khyber Agency is an important area en route to Afghanistan and trade caravans pass from there for Kabul and other provinces.

Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan Tariq Azizuddin had been kidnapped from the agency this year and was released after almost five months.

The militants group known as local Taliban had warned last month that they would not allow the trucks carrying goods for ISAF forces if raids in tribal areas by the US-led forces were not stopped. More than 100 people have died in drone attacks inside Pakistan by the US forces.

The transporters have also claimed damages from the traders responsible for supplying goods to the ISAF forces as they their trucks are stranded in Peshawar and Khyber Agency.

“The traders will have to pay us extra for all these days… the standing trucks are not fetching us anything and traders are responsible for this as this is their responsibility to provide us security,” Wali Shah, a transporter, told IANS.