Nato routes: Truckers ready, but seek protection as Taliban sound warning

By AFP
Published: July 4, 2012
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A driver stands with his tanker ready to supply fuel to Nato troops stationed in Afghanistan. PHOTO: REUTERS

A driver stands with his tanker ready to supply fuel to Nato troops stationed in Afghanistan. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD / MIRANSHAH: Even as Pakistan and the US move towards an amicable resolution of the Nato supply routes with the former opening borders and the latter not ‘price gouged’, new dangers have emerged which threatens to derail the matter once more.

Soon after the US issued a mild apology for killing more than two dozen Pakistani soldiers in a cross-border check post attack, paving the way for Pakistan to reopen the supply lines, the Pakistani Taliban warned that they “will not allow any truck to pass and will attack it.”

“We will not only attack the supply truck but will also kill the drivers (of NATO supply trucks),” Taliban spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan said.

Celebrations by truckers, who will be the ones ferrying the goods through Pakistan and into Afghanistan, were cut short by this stark reminder. They demanded security for their drivers and trucks for resuming supplies.

Prior to the closure, Pakistani Taliban carried out dozens of attacks, disrupting supplies for 130,000 US-led NATO troops fighting in Afghanistan, and have repeatedly warned of more if Pakistan reopened supply routes.

Following the official announcement NATO truckers said they feared more attacks and demanded security guarantees before the resumption of the supply routes.

“We need security, we need protection. Taliban have killed dozens of our drivers and torched hundreds of vehicles,” Mir Mohammad Yousuf Shahwani, head of the largest oil tanker owners association in Pakistan, told AFP.

Ready to deliver

With the apology and subsequent route reopening catching drivers unawares, they expressed readiness to deliver their cargo.

“It is a sudden decision but even then we can start supplies in days. The thing is, who will protect us,” Shahwani said.

Pakistan’s announcement came shortly after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Pakistan was re-opening the routes and that the United States was “sorry” for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military in November.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Mohd Butt
    Jul 4, 2012 - 7:34AM

    Object should have been national intrest, and if it been watched then re opening again is in national inrest therefore, should not be opposed.
    Help Pakistan and God help Pakistan.

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  • Babloo
    Jul 4, 2012 - 7:34AM

    A fight between various “actors” of the state. Is the director losing the plot ?

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  • SKChadha
    Jul 4, 2012 - 8:31AM

    I sincerly hope that Pak Army will provide protection to Caravan…. ???

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  • Khaled
    Jul 4, 2012 - 9:08AM

    Difa-e-Pakistan must now provide protection for the trucks.

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  • Malatesh
    Jul 4, 2012 - 10:23AM

    Now Pakistan has to say sorry and pay for each truck if NATO loses.

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Jul 4, 2012 - 10:37AM

    Now this has been the first and foremost duty of US’ officials to provide the security to the truckers just by the drones’ technology from Karachi to Peshawar and if not this is possible then Pakistan army by unmanned spying plane “Uqab” because army is getting coalition support funds from USA and Pakistan army to show loyalty,sincerity and honesty with its worldly master USA I mean “Namak Halali”.

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