Pakistan briefly reopens NATO supply route
Pakistani security forces briefly reopened a key northwest supply route for Western troops in Afghanistan today, three days after shutting it to drive militants from the area.world Updated: Jan 02, 2009 17:14 IST
Pakistani security forces briefly reopened a key northwest supply route for Western troops in Afghanistan on Friday, three days after shutting it to drive militants from the area, officials said.
Security forces backed by helicopter gunships, tanks and heavy artillery on Tuesday launched the operation in the rugged Khyber tribal area near Jamrud, the gateway to the famed Khyber Pass linking Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The offensive, prompted by a series of attacks on truck depots in and around the city of Peshawar that saw hundreds of NATO vehicles torched, forced the closure of the highway from Peshawar to the Afghan border town of Torkham.
The highway was reopened only from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm when authorities relaxed the curfew in force in Jamrud, local administration official Rahat Gul said.
"The road is clear and more secure now all type of vehicles are using the road and NATO supplies also resumed," he said.
Local administration chief Tariq Hayat told reporters Friday that the situation would "return to normal in one or two days."
The bulk of the supplies and equipment required by NATO and US led forces battling the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan is shipped to Pakistan's largest port, Karachi, in the south.
From there, the containers of food, fuel, vehicles and munitions are taken by truck to depots outside Peshawar before being transported to Afghanistan via the Khyber Pass.
But the fabled road passes through the heart of Pakistan's lawless tribal zone, where extremists sought refuge after Afghanistan's hardline Taliban regime was ousted in a US-led invasion at the end of 2001.