Thursday, September 30, 2010

NATO uh oh

In which Pakistan holds a pruning shear to one of NATO's dangly orbs.

Pakistan has blocked one of two vital supply routes for US and Nato troops in Afghanistan, officials say. The move comes after three Pakistani soldiers were killed in a Nato helicopter attack near the border. The BBC's M Ilyas Khan says it is not clear whether the closure is in retaliation for the attack. But the blockade, if it becomes permanent, could lead to a major escalation in tensions between Pakistan and the United States...

...A queue of about 100 Nato vehicles is now waiting to cross the border into Afghanistan.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said after the border attack on Thursday that "we will have to see whether we are allies or enemies".
However, local officials said the closure was carried out as a security measure to ensure Nato vehicles were not attacked by the Taliban in retaliation for the helicopter attack.
Our correspondent says the route through the Khyber area supplies Kabul and is one of two key supply lines linking Pakistan to Afghanistan.
Another route - going though Quetta and Chaman to southern Afghanistan - remains open.
Security officials said Nato helicopters had entered Pakistani airspace and targeted a paramilitary checkpoint in Thursday's attack.
A Nato official confirmed there was an attack, but said that the military alliance believed it was in Afghan airspace. She added that the incident was under investigation.

Briefly. The local Pakistani officials are wrong. Cutting a MSR is a tried and true method of disrupting the military activity of your enemy. Friends don't do that to friends. The interior minister said as much. This is bad.

More later maybe.


pogge said...

This is bad.

But predictable. In Sept. 2008 in retaliation for cross-border strikes Pakistan closed the Khyber Pass several times. NATO should have learned this lesson by now.

Boris said...

That's just the thing. NATO is fighting an enemy whose staging area is mostly out of bounds to their forces. So it makes compelling sense to them to move into Pakistan as much as they can. However, the flipside is well, it's Pakistan and there's a limit to how much NATO, particularly the US' freewheeling they'll tolerate on their side of the boundary- for a host of reasons.

But NATO also needs Pakistan because it's the only seaport that shares a border with landlocked Afghanistan safe enough to actually use. Otherwise they're stuck moving all their heavy equipment by air either into the 'stans to the north and then by land over the border, or flown directly into Afstan, neither of which are realistic options for cost and logistical reasons.

The war pretty much ends when Pakistan stops coorperating with NATO.

Dana said...

The Khyber. Again. Rudyard would be so proud.

Alison said...

BBC : At least 27 tankers carrying fuel for NATO forces in Afghanistan
torched in southern Pakistan.