Nato supply resumption a boon for Afghan Taliban

Published: July 5, 2012
Email
Container trucks are seen parked in Torkham, close to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. PHOTO: AFP

Container trucks are seen parked in Torkham, close to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: 

While the Taliban are “offended” at Pakistan’s decision to lift a ban on Nato supplies, they are also apparently “glad” about the development.

The resumption of supply lines in Pakistan appears to be good news for the Afghan Taliban, as well as local militants, as the closure had deprived them of millions of dollars they used to receive as ‘protection charges’ from Isaf and Nato.

A prominent militant leader, known for his close ties with Mullah Omar, told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity, that the Afghan Taliban and local militants who are active on the Pak-Afghan borders were “seriously annoyed” over the ban.

The leader, who is also one of the key leaders of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, said that the Afghan Taliban had even protested when his council was holding nationwide demonstrations pressing Pakistan against the lifting of the ban.

“The Taliban had frankly told me that the ban had caused them huge financial losses during the last eight months,” the militant leader said.

“We are offended over the resumption of the Isaf/Nato supply lines from Pakistan to Afghanistan but at the same time we are glad that at least our Taliban brothers in Afghanistan would be happy over this decision,” he said, adding: “Believe me it is good news for Taliban and militants.”

Meanwhile, Dr Ghirat Baheer, the chairman of the foreign relations council of Hizb-i-Islami, refused to comment on the resumption of Nato supplies in Pakistan.

He also refused to comment on reports that his party’s fighters and the Afghan Taliban were involved in extortion of money to ensure the safety and security of the Afghanistan-bound supplies for the foreign forces in Afghanistan.

According to international media reports, it is an admitted fact that US and Nato pay a handsome amount of money to the militants in return for safety and security of their supplies to Afghanistan via two land routes in Pakistan.

Pakistani Nato truck drivers are also supposed to pay the Taliban for their own security. Anticipating extortion by the Afghan Taliban and other militants, All Pakistan Truck Owners Association Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa President Nasir Ali Khan has requested the federal government to provide protection to the Afghanistan-bound oil and goods containers.

In a press statement, Khan expressed fears that militants in K-P and Balochistan could launch attacks on the Nato trucks and drivers.

Drivers delighted, locals apprehensive

Amidst fresh threats of attacks, oil tankers and drivers moved to Karachi to load their vehicles with supplies for Nato troops stationed in Afghanistan.

People associated with the business expressed their delight over the reopening of the supply line, while locals termed the tankers and containers “moving bombs” following threats from militants.

Gul Khan, an oil tanker driver, said he was happy when he heard that the supply route was restored but at the same time urged the government to provide them with security.

Khan said that they have decided not to enter K-P unless the provincial government provides them with security.

Tribesmen from Khyber Agency, on the other hand, expressed their dismay over the decision of reopening of the supply route.

“The government opened it for its own benefit, not for us,” Azmat Afridi told The Express Tribune, adding that the oil tankers and containers of Nato had devastated all the roads in the agency.

He further said that they were living in constant fear of an attack on the containers by militants. “Now, once again, there will be blasts and attacks on the containers … and innocent people will lose their lives.”

Rahman Gul, a local trader, said, “These oil tankers and containers are moving bombs”. He added that the government didn’t care about what the people wanted and “are just earning dollars”.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY OUR CORRESPONDENT IN PESHAWAR

Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2012.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (10)

  • Basit
    Jul 5, 2012 - 9:45AM

    Why else do you think supply convoys rarely got attacked? Let’s not forget Pushtuns operate 90% of these convoys and the Us paid of tribes to allow convoys through their areas.

    The US is funding the war against itself.

    Recommend

  • Dushmann (let there be peace)
    Jul 5, 2012 - 9:47AM

    So NATO is already paying charges for trasport of containers to Pak army, and they were demanding to increase charges even more !

    Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Jul 5, 2012 - 9:59AM

    The Taliban commander tells the press what he wants them to report, not necessarily THE TRUTH!

    Recommend

  • Falcon
    Jul 5, 2012 - 10:28AM

    That certainly shows that Taliban are confused at best and hypocrite bunch at worst.

    Recommend

  • Butt
    Jul 5, 2012 - 10:49AM

    This has to be the tallest layer cake in the world’s history. Govt officially get US$250.00 per container, Establishment gets more for using and destroying the highway plus the toll charges. ‘Strategic assists’ get for some form of protection. Everyone gets their piece of the cake except the people of Pakistan. Well done!!!!!!!

    Recommend

  • Jul 5, 2012 - 11:34AM

    @Dushmann (let there be peace):

    The funds being paid to Pakistan were REIMBURSEMENTS against the special requirements requested by the NATO & led forces in Pakistan & its routes.

    Recommend

  • Ahmer Ali
    Jul 5, 2012 - 11:56AM

    You can expect any thing any time any where from Taliban either on large scale or small scale and Taliban have proven their this ability in the near past in Afghanistan and Pakistan thru different attacks and have proven that they are still reunited and strong and never consider them weak because the super power of that time USSR couldn’t defeat Taliban then how it is possible now that US’ and NATO’s forces can easily defeat the Taliban in their homeland Afghanistan??????Recommend

  • Syed Azizur Rahman
    Jul 5, 2012 - 11:56AM

    This is a very bitter truth but the Afghan insurgency is nothing but a source of revenue for the Afghani warlords or thugs under the guise of various Jihadis groups these Afghans are nothing but bandits exploiting the name of Islam These crooks along with their Pakistan compatriots and companion in the Difai -e-Pakistan Council like Hameed Gul, Hafeez Hussain Ahmad, Manuwar Hussain and others and others should all be executed along with their Madarsahs preaching extremist views destroyed, so that their is peace in the country.

    Recommend

  • THE
    Jul 5, 2012 - 12:04PM

    Believe me the ONLY loser in this game is the public in Pakistan, NO ONE ELSE!!
    The politicians, army, defa-e-pakistan AND even the millitants benefit from these supplies opening. Go figure!

    Recommend

  • U
    Jul 12, 2012 - 11:56PM

    @Falcon:
    Hmmm, What about the US paying protection money to their own enemies. Is that not hypocritical as well?

    There is lots more to this game than just this particular scenario. War lords, Drug lords, Taliban, Corrupt US backed government in Afghanistan, Power brokers and military in Pakistan all are benefiting from this trade. Ordinary people of Afghanistan and Pakistan are the ones who pay the ultimate price.

    Recommend

More in Pakistan