Islamabad closes Khyber Pass supply route after NATO attacks Pakistan

Pakistani officials said Nov. 26 that NATO aircraft had killed at least 25 troops in strikes against two military posts on the border with Afghanistan. The strikes, carried out by helicopters and fighter planes, apparently targeted posts in Mohmand tribal agency. Army chief of staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani called the attacks “unprovoked and indiscriminate.” Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called it “outrageous” and convened an emergency meeting of the cabinet. The Pakistani government responded by ordering the CIA to vacate the drone operations it runs from Shamsi Air Base within 15 days. It also closed the two main NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, including the one at the border town of Torkham. NATO forces receive roughly 40% of their supplies through that crossing, which runs through the Khyber Pass. Islamabad gave no estimate for how long the routes will be shut down. (NYT, Associated Press of Pakistan, BBC News, Nov. 26)

NATO issued a statement expressing its condolences for the slain soldiers and pledged an investigation into the incident. But it asserted that a Special Forces mission had come under fire from the Pakistani side of the border. (BBC World Service, Nov. 27)

The attacks come little more than a year after a similar raid on North Waziristan tribal agency.

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  1. More NATO supply trucks torched
    Armed militants on motorcycles in southwest Pakistan ambushed and set ablaze a convoy of tankers contracted to NATO forces in Afghanistan Dec. 11. The gunmen opened fire after forcing the convoy of eight oil tankers to stop in an area 90 kilometers southwest of Quetta, capital of Balochistan province. The militants killed one of the truck’s drivers and set the tankers on fire before they escaped. (CNN, Dec. 12)