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NATO resumes supply into Afghanistan after Pak lifts blockade

October 10, 2010 19:53 IST

NATO on Sunday resumed supplies for its forces in Afghanistan after Pakistan reopened the main supply line, which it had closed to protest the death of its two soldiers in a cross-border raid, even as United States drones killed 7 militants in North Waziristan tribal area in a fresh attack.

A NATO convoy consisting of dozens of vehicles crossed through the Torkham border, ten days after it was closed by Pakistan, media reports said.

"After assessing the security situation in all its aspects, the government has decided to reopen the NATO/ISAF supply from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border at Torkham with immediate effect," said a statement issued by Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesman.

The spokesman said Pakistani relevant authorities were 'in the process of coordinating with authorities on the other side of the border to ensure smooth resumption of the supply traffic.'

Pakistan had shut down the Torkham border crossing in the country's northwest after NATO helicopters shelled a frontier post in Kurram tribal region on September 30 and killed two soldiers.

NATO initially defended the air strike, the fourth incident of its kind in the area, as an act of self-defence.

Meanwhile, US drones struck a compound today in a Taliban-dominated area in lawless North Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan, killing at least seven militants.

The spy planes fired four missiles at the compound at Shawa in Datta Khel sub-division of North Waziristan tribal agency near the Afghan border, security sources said.

The area, where the strike occurred, is dominated by the Taliban's Haqqani faction and Hafiz Gul Bahadar group of militants who often attack the US and NATO forces across the border.

The US has significantly stepped up drone attacks in Waziristan since last month. Following the closure of the supply route, the US apologised for the air strike while the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and senior American military commanders acknowledged the violation of Pakistani airspace and regretted the death of the Pakistani troops.

About 70 per cent of supplies for NATO and US troops and 40 per cent of their fuel requirements are shipped to Afghanistan via Pakistan. Despite the closure of the Torkham border crossing, Pakistan kept open the Chaman frontier post in the country's southwest that is also used by NATO convoys.

In the wake of the NATO air strikes, militants destroyed over 100 tankers carrying fuel to NATO forces and killed about a dozen people in attacks in different parts of Pakistan, including Rawalpindi and Balochistan.

At least 29 tankers were destroyed and two security personnel injured during an attack by militants in Balochistan province early on Sunday.

Image: Tankers carrying fuel for NATO forces cross Torkham border into Afghanistan on Sunday

Photograph: Parwiz Parwiz/Reuters

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