Torkham border still bare of NATO supplies

Published: July 10, 2012
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Development under way for expansion and security heightened. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Development under way for expansion and security heightened. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

PESHAWAR: 

Even five days after Islamabad unblocked Nato supply lines through its territory, no actual cargo has crossed the Torkham border into Afghanistan, transporters said on Monday.

Most of the supply trucks remain in Karachi, where they have been stranded for several months now.

Talking to The Express Tribune, the president of the Nato Oil Tankers Association, Nasir Khan said that not a single oil tanker or container had crossed the Torkham border into Afghanistan until July 9 and only a handful of containers had reached Afghanistan via the Chaman border in Quetta. “We have been assured of foolproof security, including deployment of Frontier Constabulary (FC) along the main road in Khyber Agency but the supply is yet to be restored via Torkham,” he explained, adding that no tanker would be allowed to park in Peshawar or spend the night here.

Customs officials at Torkham border crossing in the country’s troubled northwest told AFP that work had begun to expand dedicated parking space for Nato containers.

“After expansion the parking capacity for Nato trucks will be doubled,” Obaidullah Khan, a customs official at Torkham, the closest border crossing to Kabul.

“Prior to the closure the terminal had a parking capacity of 250 vehicles and now we are expanding it to 500.”

The security situation at the terminal has been reviewed and it has been suggested that police mobiles should escort the oil tankers and containers along the main Grand Trunk Road and Ring Road in light of threats by Taliban militants who have vowed to attack Nato trucks.

Four checkpoints are also being set up around the Torkham terminal and the number of security personnel will be raised from the previous level of 550.

A bulldozer had begun work at the site, uprooting trees while workers spread barbed wire around the back of the terminal, according to a report by the AFP.

“There are at least 1,500 oil tankers engaged in supplies to Afghanistan and Nato forces whose security is a major concern,” said Nasir.

(with additional input from AFP)

Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2012.

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