PESHAWAR: Officials said on Monday that a ban on Nato trucks at the main border crossing into Afghanistan will last until the government promises to safeguard security.
Officials closed the Torkham crossing, the quickest route to Kabul from Karachi, to Nato traffic on Thursday, just weeks after lifting a seven-month blockade on Nato trucks going into Afghanistan.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) vowed to attack Nato supplies and last Tuesday, one of the truck drivers was shot dead in Jamrud tehsil of Khyber Agency.
“The security plan by the political administration, police and Frontier Corps is being prepared and once it is finalised and approved, Nato trucks will be allowed to pass,” Bakhtiar Khan, a local administration official, told AFP.
Authorities say they wrote to the federal government 11 days ago, asking them to finalise a security plan as soon as possible.
“But so far we have not received any response,” Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told AFP.
Federal government officials were not immediately available to comment.
At the Chaman crossing into Afghanistan, officials said no restrictions have been placed on Nato supply trucks, but that traffic had thinned.
“Fifty-eight trucks are parked at Chaman awaiting clearance from Afghan officials,” clearing agent Ashraf Khan told AFP.
In Karachi, many truckers won’t leave without security guarantees and compensation, said Akram Khan Durrani, president of the All Pakistan Oil Tankers Owners Association.
“Until that, we are not going anywhere,” he told AFP.
“It is too dangerous to take our vehicles out without solid guarantees. The situation has changed dangerously as many political and religious groups are against it and the Taliban could strike anywhere if we have no security.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2012.
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