Pakistan reopens vital border crossing to NATO

Pakistan has reopened the vital Torkham border crossing point to NATO supply trucks destined for Afghanistan. The crossing point was closed late on Sept. 5, the same day the Pakistani military threatened to retaliate against the US for conducting attacks against the Taliban and al Qaeda inside Pakistan.

Pakistan’s defense minister said the border closure was meant to show the US that it would not tolerate airstrikes and raids inside its borders, Daily Times reported.

“We have told them that we will take action and we have already taken action today,” Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said. “We have stopped the supply of oil and this will tell how serious we are.”

The US has recently stepped up attacks against Taliban and al Qaeda safe houses and training camps inside Pakistan’s tribal areas of North and South Waziristan over the last week. The US has conducts five strikes in the Waziristans in the past week, including a controversial helicopter assault in a village along the border.

But other Pakistani officials are maintaining that the border crossing was closed due to a deteriorating security situation. Rahmin Malik, the advisor to Prime Minister Gilani on internal security, said the road was closed after members of the security forces protecting the road to Afghanistan were kidnapped.

“The NATO supplies were temporarily halted after around 20 soldiers of the Frontier Constabulary were captured by the militants in the area from where the supplies cross into Afghanistan,” Malik told Dawn. “In fact, let me tell you that three trucks carrying NATO supplies were attacked en route to Afghanistan, compelling the government to secure the area.”

An estimated 70 percent of NATO supplies move through Khyber to resupply troops fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan. The bulk of NATO’s supplies arrive in the port city of Karachi, move north to Peshawar, and head west to the Torkham crossing into Afghanistan and the final destination in Kabul. The rest of the supplies pass through the Chaman border crossing point in Baluchistan or arrive via air.

Scores of NATO supply trucks have been destroyed or damaged in Taliban attacks along the road through Khyber over the past year. The government launched an operation to clear the Lashkar-e-Islam, a local Taliban groups that controls much of the agency. The military ended the operation after 10 days, and signed a peace agreement with the group.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.

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13 Comments

  • KnightHawk says:

    I could be wrong but it sounds like someone got an ear full and I doubt it really was the U.S., or this is a pre-coordinated PR game.

  • jeandon says:

    I suspect all this is to do with the new Pak Pres., who was voted in by a landslide and is reported to be more antiterrorist and pro US; vs the Pak PM. My money’s on the Pres. The terrorists are in for a hard time, being attacked in the agencies by both NATO and the resurgent Paks.

  • flyonthewall says:

    There is ONE thing I believe: Don’t believe a thing coming out of P’stan officials. Talk is cheap and useless, and we’ve bought their lies for too long, sending them billions to build “democracy”. I hope US continues to destroy the T’ban and AlQ with airstrikes. The Defense Minister will not “tolerate our airstrikes”? He’d rather we put ‘boots on the ground” in A’gan for target practice by cowards who run to P’stan for sanctuary? Consider it a surge without loss of our treasured soldiers.
    I sure hope to read about the next airstrike before today’s through.

  • Rhyno327/lrsd says:

    This was a warning. How will the US slow these people down? There will be an endless war if those camps, the hadji’s who are there, thier leaders are allowed to act w/out fear of ANY retaliation. Its the only way, coz the P-stani’s just are not that interested. These covert ops must be kept quiet. As for the 157 camps, only US air-power could put them out of business. The unknown is wat the P-stani’s will do. Will they choose to scramble fighters to down US planes? We may find ourselves in a confrontation with P-stan. I do not care at all wat the P-stani’s think, or do. I know we got conned out of $10 BILLION. Bush was still blowing his horn about the DOG Musharraff, who must be laughing all the way to the bank. Some hard decisions must be made, and Iam hopeful that Sec-Def Gates and the military will make the correct decision.

  • Tommy says:

    We probably just paused for the election weekend.
    Hopefully, the raids and airstrikes continue this week. We can’t wait for the Pakistanis to take action. Especially if the admin wants to get Bin Laden and Zawahiri in the next 4 months.

  • Alex says:

    Looks like cooler heads prevailed in the Pakistani government. Cutting off support to NATO would just be stupidity.

  • Tommy says:

    Well…the weekend is over. And guess what?
    MISSILE STRIKE IN NORTHWESTERN PAKISTAN!
    Breaking news…more to come

  • hI
    I think this was just a sop given to Zardari to get his credentials right fr om ANTI/AMERICAN LOBBY in his own country.
    He has betrayed the US ambassador to UN who is working for Prince bandar.I think this will have wider repurcussions from saudies.

  • Marlin says:

    I wonder if this development played a role in the decision to re-open the Torkham border crossing.

    India has completed construction of a strategic road linking landlocked Afghanistan with a port in Iran, India’s envoy said, reflecting New Delhi’s resolve to remain engaged despite a deadly embassy bombing in July.
    The 220-km (135-mile) road in the southwest Afghan province of Nimroz is the centrepiece of New Delhi’s $1.1 billion reconstruction effort, which has drawn sniping from Pakistan, worried about its rival’s growing influence in Afghanistan.
    “We are in the process of handing over the road to the Afghan government,” said Ambassador Jayant Prasad in an interview, adding this was a project in which India had invested blood and treasure.
    […]
    The road opens up an alternate access route into landlocked Afghanistan, which at the moment relies mostly on Pakistan with goods coming through from ports there and then overland via the Khyber pass.

    Reuters: INTERVIEW-India completes strategic Afghan road, vows engagement

  • Private Finch says:

    This is good news, to have greater access for better transport of the fuel and materials we need to conduct the war. It will be a wake-up call for the Paki’s know we can rely on their arch enemy India for help.

  • Render says:

    Maybe it’s just me…I fail to see how an Indian built road from an Iranian port city, through Baluchistan, and then into Afghanistan is going to be of any real usefulness to US/NATO forces within Afghanistan.
    The operative word here is; “Iranian.”
    Did we (the US) suddenly fall off of the mullahs “Great Satan” list?
    Or is the goal to eventually replace the NATO/US Coalition forces in Afghanistan with Indian forces?
    RISK
    THEORY,
    R

  • DJ Elliott says:

    Render: Concur.
    Marlin: Your class in Map Reading 101 is scheduled to start ASAP.
    – Iran is not a viable route…
    – China is not a viable route…
    – India does not have a border with Afghanistan…
    – Pakistan is a problem but,
    – That leaves the former Soviet Republics and the routes there channel thru Russia. Russia does not allow NATO weapons to transit its territory.

  • Rhyno327/lrsd says:

    Wat former Soviet republic can we pay to use thier airfields as a logistics base? A route coming from the north may be our only option. Anyone have an idea?

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis