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Pakistan Blocks Vital Supply Route for NATO Troops in Afghanistan

Pakistan has blocked a vital supply route for U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, apparently in retaliation for an alleged cross-border NATO helicopter strike that killed three Pakistani troops.

Officials in Islamabad say Pakistani authorities at the Torkham border crossing have been ordered to stop NATO fuel and supply trucks from crossing into Afghanistan. The route through the Khyber tribal region is a major supply corridor for NATO forces in Afghanistan.

A Pakistani government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal that he had received instructions from Islamabad to close the route until instructed otherwise.

Earlier in the day, Pakistani officials said three Pakistani paramilitary border troops had been killed in the tribal area of Kurram by a NATO helicopter gunship. If confirmed, it would be the fourth strike in recent days by NATO helicopters pursuing militants across the border into Pakistan.

Pakistan has strongly denounced the incursions.

A member of the Pakistani Senate from the Kurram Agency, Rashid Khan, told Radio Mashaal that NATO had no right to bomb these areas.

"We condemn this and, if continued, it will affect the antiterror war and the terrorists will be strengthened," Khan said.

The border area is known as a haven for militants carrying out attacks into Afghanistan. The United States also has recently stepped up missile strikes by unmanned aerial drones on militants' positions in Pakistan.


Copyright (c) 2010. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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