Pakistani officials say NATO supplies to Afghanistan blocked; order follows NATO airstrike

By Riaz Khan, AP
Thursday, September 30, 2010

Officials: Pakistan blocks NATO supply trucks

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistani government officials say senior authorities have ordered them to block oil tankers and trucks carrying NATO supplies at a checkpoint bordering Afghanistan.

The two officials say they were not told the reason for the order at the Torkham border post. However, it comes after threats by Pakistani officials to stop providing protection to NATO convoys if the military alliance’s choppers hit Pakistani targets again.

Earlier Thursday, Pakistani officials alleged a NATO airstrike hit a border post, killing three Pakistani troops.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information to the media.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A NATO helicopter attack Thursday killed three Pakistani security officers close to the Afghan border, Pakistani officials alleged.

A NATO official in Afghanistan confirmed there was an attack in the border area close to the Upper Orakzai region, but gave no further details saying the incident was being investigated. He and the Pakistani security officers declined to give their names, citing the sensitivity of the incident.

The attack was likely to worsen ties between Pakistan and NATO-led forces in Afghanistan at a crucial time in the 9-year war.

Relations have been tense since NATO helicopters last weekend opened fire on targets across the border, killing several alleged insurgents. Those incidents were protested by the Pakistan government.

Pakistani officials differed on the exact location of the incident, saying it either took place in Upper Kurram or Upper Orakzai. The remote districts neighbor each other and there is no marked border between the two.

The dead men were from a paramilitary force tasked with safeguarding the border, they said. Their bodies had been taken to the region’s largest town of Parachinar, said one of them.

Pakistan has a complicated alliance with the United States and NATO that is often subject to tensions.

Pakistan has to balance its support for Western forces in Afghanistan with the intense anti-U.S. feelings of much of its population. Opinion polls show many people regard the United States as an enemy, and conspiracy theories stating U.S. troops are poised to attack Pakistan and take over its nuclear weapons are common.

Reichmann reported from Kabul, Afghanistan. Associated Press writer Hussain Hafzal contributed to this report from Parachinar.

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