Washington: Protest from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its allied parties including Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) against US drone strikes and NATO supplies has imposed its impact as US military as decided to halt its ground cargo shipments from Afghanistan through Pakistan because of the risk to drivers.
Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright this would affect outgoing shipments of equipment and other goods from US units on Afghan soil.
“We are aware protests have affected one of the primary commercial transit routes between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he said. “We have voluntarily halted U.S. shipments of retrograde cargo … from Torkham Gate through Karachi to ensure the safety of the drivers contracted to move our equipment.”
He said deliveries could be resumed “in the near future”.
About half of US cargo being taken out of Afghanistan through Pakistan travels through the Torkham crossing. Alternative routes exist for the US through Central Asia, but they take longer and are more expensive to use.
US drone strikes are deeply unpopular in Pakistan. They have sparked public outrage from officials in Islamabad, who view them as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.
Pakistanis have blocked the US main supply route to Afghanistan, blaming the drones for causing civilian deaths.
Protesters have been harassing truck drivers, turning back vehicles carrying Nato provisions.