PESHAWAR: Pakistani authorities on Saturday blocked the NATO supply route to Afghanistan after an attack on a border check post killed at least 24 Pakistani soldiers. The attack by NATO helicopters on a check post located in Mohmand Agnecy killed at least 24 soldiers and injured 12.
Official sources confirmed the suspension of supplies, adding that all containers were stopped at the Takhta Baig check post in Jamrud tehsil of Khyber Agency.
“We have suspended the supply and will not let even a single container move ahead,” the official added.
“We have stopped NATO supplies after receiving orders from the federal government,” Mutahir Hussain, a senior administration official in Khyber tribal region, on the Afghan border, told AFP. “Supply trucks are being sent back to Peshawar.”
Takhta Baig is the first check post followed by four more check posts in the tribal areas and is the shortest possible route to Afghanistan.
Gilani condemns attack
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has strongly condemned the attack on the check post in Mohmand Agency.
Speaking to the media in Multan, Gilani said that a meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and the foreign secretary was currently underway in Islamabad, and added that he would be joining them soon. The prime minister has cut short his three-day visit to Multan to return to the capital.
A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the matter was being taken up in the “strongest terms” with NATO and the US on the directions of the prime minister.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has also said that no action against Pakistan’s would be tolerated.
She said that the attack will be condemned on all forums and the government will also take up the issue internationally.
Pakistan lodges protest with the US
Iffat Gardezi, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Pakistani Embassy in the US, has lodged a verbal protest over the attack.
A Pakistan Embassy spokesperson told The Express Tribune that Iffat Gardezi had contacted the State Department at midnight (Eastern Standard Time).
The spokesperson said that Gardezi had in strong words raised the issue of the death of Pakistani soldiers by ISAF and termed the incident as “unprovoked”.
(with additional reporting by Huma Imtiaz)