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Pak reopens Afghan border for Nato

world Updated: Oct 11, 2010 00:50 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad

Nato trucks finally crossed the Pakistan-Afghan border at Torkham on Sunday after Islamabad agreed to open the crossing 10 days after ISAF forces targeted positions and killed two soldiers.

Border officials said there were over a thousand trucks waiting to cross over. Many of these were fuel tankers while others carried food supplies, military hardware and other containers meant for Nato soldiers stationed in Afghanistan.

The biggest threat from the parked trucks, said officials, came from the fuel tankers as there were fears they may be attacked while stationary.

In the past week, about 100 tankers were attacked and burnt at different locations across Pakistan while they were parked. The Tehreek-e-Taliban has taken credit for these attacks.

Pakistani officials closed the border for Nato and ISAF shipments last week after the attack on a Pakistan paramilitary position on September 30 which killed two soldiers. Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the feelings of Pakistanis had been hurt and the government could not allow the shipments owing to the anger of the people.

Nato insisted that the attack was within Afghan territory. However, on Thursday, top US military and civilian leadership offered a rare public apology to Pakistan over the cross border attack after a joint Pakistan-Nato probe concluded that the US helicopters violated the country’s airspace several times on September 30.

Officials said Pakistan reopened the Nato supplies only after the US had given firm assurance that the coalition forces would not violate the country’s sovereignty again.

On Friday, Pakistan’s army command said it would retaliate if such attacks occurred in the future. This was decided in a corps commander meeting in Rawalpindi.

Almost three-quarters of non-lethal Nato goods were once used to transit through Pakistan.