NATO to continue Afghan mission despite Pakistan supply blockage: Pentagon

By AFP
Published: November 29, 2011

"Obviously they did express their condolences and regrets but I think everyone realises the facts need to be collected, analysed and that the investigation needs to unfold," Gen Dempsey said. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

WASHINGTON: With the US President, and Commander in Chief of American forces, terming the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers in an early Saturday morning NATO raid as “tragic”, the US military says that it will press ahead with its war effort in Afghanistan despite Pakistan’s decision to cut off supplies to NATO-led forces after the attacks, the Pentagon said on Monday.

Pakistan had sealed its border with Afghanistan to block NATO supplies after allied strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers near the border on Saturday.

“The war effort continues,” press secretary George Little told reporters.

Asked how long US and coalition forces could operate without supplies from routes running through Pakistan, he said: “I don’t have a time line to share.

“But the important point to focus on is the war effort will continue. Everyone realises we have an enemy to engage in Afghanistan and the US military is prepared to carry on.”

Nearly half of all cargo bound for NATO-led troops runs through Pakistan. Roughly 140,000 foreign troops, including about 97,000 American forces, rely on supplies from the outside for the war in Afghanistan.

The top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, has asked US Central Command to lead an investigation into the air strikes, Little said. The American military’s Central Command oversees US forces in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) sent an initial assessment team over the weekend to the border to collect facts surrounding the incident, he said.

Both Allen and the military’s top-ranking officer, General Martin Dempsey, spoke to the Pakistani army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, about the incident, he said.

“Obviously they did express their condolences and regrets but I think everyone realises the facts need to be collected, analysed and that the investigation needs to unfold,” he said.

The Pentagon spokesman also said he could not confirm reports that Pakistan had banned US government aircraft or ordered the CIA out of the Shamsi air base, which has reportedly been used for US drone strikes against militants.

“I’m not aware of any US military personnel at that base,” Little said.

After the air strikes, Pakistan’s cabinet ministers and military chiefs ordered the United States to leave the Shamsi air base within 15 days.

The remote desert outpost in southwest Pakistan is reportedly used as a hub for covert CIA drone strikes, which Islamabad previously told the United States to leave in June.

The role of the air base remains unclear as the CIA also uses air fields in neighbouring Afghanistan to stage missile attacks with unmanned robotic planes against suspected al Qaeda and Taliban militants.

Reader Comments (8)

  • Khadim
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:30AM

    Plz US Stop Killing … Respect the Humanity … The world will respect You…. Stop interfering in others matters and let the world be Peaceful… Imagine if these only 10% of the Billions of dollar invested in wars, if could be invested in Humanity and Poverty… How the world will be and How much respect we all have for USA. No one attack or revenge from US and every respect them to lead the world.

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  • Harry Mudd
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:58AM

    Pakistan was hiding Bin Laden, responsible for the deaths of 2,500+ innocent civilians, and now they carry on like this? Yes it was tragic, but pakistan need to be smacked.

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  • Walter White is breaking bad,seriously!
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:56AM

    @Harry Mudd:
    Apparently it is not working………………….. do not mess with the people. You can only handle the governments.

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  • Pashtun
    Nov 29, 2011 - 11:10AM

    PAK GOVT, should be pressurized but without any harm to the local people,

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  • from india
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:22PM

    as long as pakistani soldiers and intelligence staffs are getting killed its not at all tragic, however i pray for the safety of pakistani civillians who are bascially peace loving people

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  • Jadugar
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:34PM

    Does NATO have a choice now, Its about time that these pompus war lords (NATO) learn to live with less, and withen their limit. The American are in superority complex to show their falling might and NATO loves playing the guard dog. Lets see how long before they realize the true value of Pakistan particpation in helping them. But its our leaders who also have to be strong and show who is in charge.

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  • Harry Mudd
    Nov 30, 2011 - 4:20AM

    @Jadugar, without the billions of foreign aid, from the USA, then Pakistan would cease to exist within 6 months. Pakistan has harboured fanatical murderers, and should pay for it. The actions of the Pakistan Government, over this tragedy will only hurt the Pakistani people. no one else. (And I’m NOT American, btw).

    WE have a saying.. You’ve made your bed, now lie in it.

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  • Mard
    Dec 29, 2011 - 10:13AM

    Harry …… you dont know about Pakistani nation. we are demanding our govt to cut off all ties with US and let us live, we will show the survival and will show the world how we are.

    This is rumor from west to Pakistani ppl so that they never think to live without US.

    We believe in GOD, and he is responsible for food and every thing and he is giving it to world.

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