Border closure seen as an inconvenience

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Pakistan's closure of its border to NATO convoys carrying supplies to troops in Afghanistan would hit only about a third of the traffic, The Guardian reported.

Pakistan took the action to protest a weekend NATO air strike that killed 24 of its soldiers.


The opening of alternate supply routes to landlocked Afghanistan from the north through Tajikistan and Uzbekistan has reduced reliance on the Pakistani routes from the Karachi container ports on the Arabian Sea over road and rail links to the border towns of Tokham and Chaman, The Guardian said.

Thus, the latest Pakistani border closure would be no more than an inconvenience for NATO that would slightly add to the total cost of the war, the British newspaper said.

The northern distribution network, which is much longer at its start in Europe, had to be opened as U.S. relations with Pakistan began to deteriorate and as the Pakistani routes became more vulnerable to insurgent attacks. Multiple fuel and other NATO truck convoys have been blown up in recent months.

The Guardian said currently only 30 percent of the U.S. supplies and less than half of NATO supplies move through Pakistan, while about 40 percent of the U.S. supplies are shipped from the north. The remaining 30 percent is sent by air.


A Western military official told The Guardian the northern route, along with stockpiling of essential equipment, would allow NATO to continue its operations unaffected for several months.

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