Saturday, 26 November 2011

Pakistan suspends NATO supplies in response to NATO attack

Pakistan has suspended NATO supplies to Afghanistan in protest against NATO strike. 
NATO helicopters fired on an army checkpoint near the Afghan border and killed 25 soldiers, in an attack that is likely to further strain relations between Islamabad and US-led forces fighting in Afghanistan.The incident late Friday night came a little over a year after US helicopters killed two Pakistani soldiers near the border. Pakistan responded by closing a key border crossing on a NATO supply route to Afghanistan for 10 days until the US apologized.

In a statement sent to reporters, the Pakistan military blamed NATO for the attack in the Mohmand tribal area, saying the helicopters "carried out unprovoked and indiscriminate firing." It said casualties have been reported but details were still coming.
A government official and a security official said the helicopters killed 25 Pakistani soldiers, including two officers, and wounded seven others in two attacks on the checkpoint.

The government official was based in Mohmand and the security official in Peshawar, the main city in Pakistan s northwest. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

NATO officials in Kabul said Saturday morning that they were aware of the incident, and would release more information after they were able to gather more facts about what happened.

The governor of Pakistan s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province criticized the incident, calling it "an attack on Pakistani sovereignty."

The checkpoint that was attacked had been recently set up in Salala village by the army to stop Pakistani Taliban militants holed up in Afghanistan from crossing the border and staging attacks, said two government administrators in Mohmand, Maqsood Hasan and Hamid Khan.

The military has blamed Pakistani Taliban militants and their allies for killing dozens of security forces in such cross-border attacks since the summer. Pakistan has criticized Afghan and foreign forces for not doing enough to stop the attacks, which it says have originated from the eastern Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan. The U.S. has largely pulled out of these provinces, leaving the militants in effective control of many areas along the border.

Pakistan moved swiftly after the attack to close the Torkham border crossing that connects northwestern Pakistan with Afghanistan through the famed Khyber Pass. Torkham is the main crossing in Pakistan, the country through which NATO ships about 30 percent of non-lethal supplies to its forces in Afghanistan.

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