[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

US halts army shipments out of Afghanistan

Pentagon halts ground shipments of equipment out of Afghanistan via Pakistan, citing risks posed to truck drivers.

Last updated: 04 Dec 2013 06:00
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Latest shutdown of Pakistan-Afghanistan border for NATO trucks have lasted over seven months [EPA]

The United States has suspended shipments of equipment out of Afghanistan through Pakistan due to protests against US drone strikes that posed a risk to truck drivers. 

Pentagon issued a statement on Tuesday, saying Washington decided to stop cargo shipments voluntarily from Torkham Gate through Karachi that the US and NATO troops used for withdrawing from Afghanistan as part of the pullout set to wrap up by the end of 2014.

"We anticipate that we will be able to resume our shipments through this route in the near future," said Mark Wright, Pentagon spokesman, in a statement. The trucks have been told to wait for now in holding areas in Afghanistan, Wright said.

"The companies that we contract with were getting nervous, And it's getting a little too dangerous for the truck drivers," the defence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP news agency.

The US has alternative routes available to the north through Central Asia, but those options take longer and are more expensive.

Latest blow to withdrawal

The delay in removing the equipment was just the latest hitch in a deeply troubled relationship between Pakistan and the US due to CIA drone missile attacks in the country that have been blamed for civilian deaths and sparked public outrage.

US officials said the strikes by unmanned aircraft have taken out dangerous al-Qaeda fighters.

While Pakistani officials publicly criticised the bombing campaign, the government was believed to have backed at least some of the strikes over the years.

The latest shutdown of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border for coalition trucks have lasted more than seven months after a US helicopter accidentally killed 24 Pakistani troops.

The border reopened to supply vehicles in July 2012 after Washington issued an apology.

The Pentagon said it had to send home 24,000 vehicles and 20,000 shipping containers of equipment as of September after more than 12 years of war.

The whole withdrawal will cost an estimated $7bn, according to Pentagon officials.

326

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.