NATO supply route re-opened in Pakistan

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Islamabad, April 25: Supplies for NATO troops in Afghanistan from Pakistan were resumed today (April 25) after a two-day sit-in against US drone strikes ended in the country's northwest.

Pakistani authorities had stopped NATO supply trucks and oil tankers as thousands of people had blocked the main highway, bordering Afghanistan.

Cricketer-turned politician and Tehrik-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan, who led a two-day sit-in in the city of Peshawar, last night announced that he would disrupt supplies to NATO forces if the US did not halt drone strikes in a month time.

President of the NATO contractors association Shakir Afridi said that supplies for the foreign forces resumed early today and hundreds of stranded trucks and oil tankers headed to Afghanistan.

Witnesses said they saw supplies trucks entering Afghanistan via Torkham border point.

The US uses pilotless drone aircraft to rain missiles on the Pakistani tribal regions to target Taliban and al-Qaeda militants, who CIA says plan cross border attacks into Afghanistan.

Tribesmen and Pakistani leaders argue that mostly civilians are killed in the American strikes and a last week attack killed 25 people including women and children in North Waziristan tribal region.

Anger has been at high against a drone strike in March which killed over 40 tribesmen, who had gathered in Datta Khel area of North Waziristan to resolve a local dispute.

Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had angrily reacted to that strike and the tribesmen vowed revenge.

Despite the public resentment and Pakistan's official protest, the US administration has rejected possibility to halt the strikes.

There were more than 110 missile strikes in the tribal belt last year. In 2011, North Waziristan tribal agency has so fat witnessed 20 drone strikes.

A CIA spokesman said after a meeting of the American and Pakistan intelligence chiefs this month that the US will take every action to protect its citizens.

Suspected militants also target the NATO trucks and have torched hundreds over the past several years.

The US has already struck an agreement with Russia for alternate supply route and is planning to sign similar deals with Central Asian states.

PTI

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