Taliban threaten lawmakers over NATO supply route
PESHAWAR THE Pakistani Taliban on Sunday threatened to attack lawmakers if they voted in support of resuming supplies for NATO troops in Afghanistan, a spokesman said.
Pakistan sealed its border with Afghanistan to NATO supply convoys after NATO air strikes in November killed 24 Pakistani soldiers near the border, triggering outrage in Islamabad.
The deadly incident heightened tensions in an already fragile relationship with Pakistani officials alleging deliberate US targeting of their troops at border posts.
From Monday Pakistani lawmakers are to debate new parameters for getting the troubled relationship back on track, expected to see Pakistan eventually reopen its Afghan border to NATO convoys after a four-month closure.
“Everybody knows we are against restoration of NATO supplies and we will target each and every member of the parliament who will support the restoration,” Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said in a telephone call from an undisclosed location.
“We are also advising the drivers of NATO supply trucks to quit this job otherwise they will be responsible for any consequences,” Ehsan said.
The recommendations for a recrafted relationship — up for debate in Pakistan’s parliament — include a US apology for the November killings, an end to drone strikes against militants on Pakistani soil and taxes on NATO convoys.
There are around 130,000 foreign troops in landlocked Afghanistan waging a 10-year battle against a Taliban-led insurgency who rely on fuel, food and equipment brought in from outside.
Nearly half of all cargo bound for foreign troops goes through Pakistan.
A NATO investigation into the November 26 strike on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border concluded that both the international alliance and Pakistani forces made mistakes in the incident — findings rejected by Pakistan.