US suspends military ground cargo shipments out of Afghanistan via Pakistan


Trucks carrying supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan return from Pakistan's Torkham border crossing after Pakistani authorities suspended NATO supplies on November 26, 2011.


A. Majeed

The United States military has suspended its ground cargo shipments of equipment and other goods out of Afghanistan via Pakistan due to Pakistani protests against US drone strikes.

Protesters angry at the US for causing civilian deaths with drone attacks on militants in the region have been disrupting cargo shipments on the main US supply route to Afghanistan, which runs from Torkham Gate at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to Karachi.

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The protesters are stopping and harassing truck drivers and turning them back if they are carrying NATO goods.

"We are aware protests have affected one of the primary commercial transit routes between Pakistan and Afghanistan," Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright told Reuters. "We have voluntarily halted US shipments of retrograde cargo ... to ensure the safety of the drivers contracted to move our equipment.”

Wright characterized the move as temporary, adding that the US military expected to use the supply route again in the near future.

The United States’ other options to move equipment out of Afghanistan are more expensive. They include flying goods out on jets or routing trucks through Russia and Central Asia.