Pakistani Taliban threaten to attack NATO supply trucks

Masked Pakistani pro-Taliban militants who are supporters of Maulana Fazlullah, a hardline cleric, stand guard at Charbagh, a Taliban strong hold, near Mingora. (REUTERS/Sherin Zada Kanju/Files)

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan: The Pakistani Taliban threatened late Tuesday to attack NATO supply trucks and kill its drivers if they tried to resume supplies to troops in Afghanistan, a spokesman said.

Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP the Taliban "will not allow any truck to pass and will attack it," hours after Pakistan confirmed it had decided to reopen vital NATO supply routes into Afghanistan which have been closed since November.

"We will not only attack the supply truck but will also kill the drivers (of NATO supply trucks)," Ehsan added.

On Tuesday Pakistan announced it would reopen the routes shut on November 26 when an American aircraft mistakenly killed 24 Pakistan soldiers. Their closure aggravated already difficult relations between Washington and Islamabad.

Prior to the closure Pakistani Taliban carried out dozens of attacks, disrupting supplies for 130,000 US-led NATO troops fighting in Afghanistan, and have repeatedly warned of more if Pakistan reopened supply routes.

Following the official announcement NATO truckers said they feared more attacks and demanded security guarantees before the resumption of the supply routes.

Pakistan's announcement came shortly after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Pakistan was re-opening the routes and that the United States was "sorry" for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military in November.

Earlier, Pakistan's new prime minister acknowledged that continuing the seven-month blockade was negatively affecting relations with the United States and other NATO member states.





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