NATO steps up Taliban attacks along Pakistan-Afghanistan border
Increased strikes are causing friction between the US and Pakistani government, which prefers to negotiate with the militants
In the latest incident to spell trouble on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, suspected Taliban militants attacked check posts, kidnapped Pakistani policemen, and blew up oil tankers destined for US and NATO troops in Afghanistan on Tuesday.Skip to next paragraph
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In retaliation, NATO forces are stepping up attacks inside Pakistan, causing friction with Pakistan's new government, which hopes to negotiate peace with the militants.
For more than a year, Taliban militants have regrouped along Pakistan's border region, where the Pakistani state's presence is weak, and used it as a staging ground to launch attacks against both US and allied troops in Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan's government. Tuesday's violence was the latest in a series to target that border, reports Agence France-Presse.
Suspected Taliban rebels kidnapped 17 tribal policemen near Pakistan's Khyber pass, police said Monday, the latest incident on the main supply route for international forces in Afghanistan.
Armed men attacked four checkposts on Sunday in the troubled region, where militants blew up 36 tankers bringing fuel for US and NATO troops across the border in March, wounding 100 people.
The security of the route has been under scrutiny since the US-led coalition reported that four helicopter engines worth 13 million dollars had gone missing in April while being transported by a Pakistani haulage firm.
Pakistan's leading English-language newspaper, Dawn, adds:
The 35km-long Peshawar-Torkham highway, the main supply route for international forces in Afghanistan, has become insecure after the kidnapping of Pakistan's Ambassador to Afghanistan Tariq Azizuddin, his driver and guard on Feb 11.
Several militant groups have intensified their patrolling of the route and last week they threatened to disrupt oil and aid supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Forty-two tankers carrying fuel for US and NATO forces were blown up near Torkham on March 23, two World Food Programme officials were kidnapped on April 21 and an army vehicle was targeted with a remote-controlled bomb on May 20.
NATO forces in Afghanistan shelled guerrillas in Pakistan in two separate episodes on Sunday, as escalating insurgent violence appeared to be eroding the alliance's restraint along the border....
The firing by NATO forces into Pakistani territory followed an American airstrike on a Pakistani border post earlier this month that killed 11 Pakistani soldiers. The Pakistani government denounced the strike, and the American government expressed regret, but it is still not entirely clear what happened.