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First NATO container crosses Pakistan border into Afghanistan after 7 months

07-06-2012 01:52 BJT

ISLAMABAD, July 5 (Xinhua) -- The first container, carrying supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan, on Thursday crossed the Pakistan-Afghanistan border three days after Pakistan unblocked the supply line, officials said.

The container entered Afghanistan via Chaman, a border city in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province, after custom clearance, border official Fazal Bari said.

He said that the first container carried food and mineral water for the foreign forces. Two other containers had been waiting for custom clearance and could be allowed to cross the border point any time.

These containers had been parked at Chaman when Pakistan closed the NATO supply line in November last year. Many other containers had been sent back after the ban had been imposed.

Pakistan closed the NATO supply line in protest against the killing of its 24 soldiers in a NATO airstrike on border posts seven months ago. The supply line was restored on Tuesday after U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apologized for the deaths of Pakistani security personnel.

Thousands of other NATO trucks and oil containers are waiting for permission at the southern Pakistani border city of Karachi, officials said. They will shortly be allowed to leave for Afghanistan via Chaman and Torkham, border town in northwest Pakistan.

Officials told Xinhua that arrangements to allow NATO trucks have also been made at Torkham in Khyber tribal region.

The custom officials at the Chaman border point have made all arrangements for the full-fledged resumption of NATO supplies in a couple of days, and the federal government has issued directives to the border officials and custom authorities to make preparations for sending NATO trucks across the border into Afghanistan.

Authorities in Balochistan province said they have sought help of the federal government for the security of NATO trucks on the 700-kilometer route between Chaman and Karachi.

A provincial official, Nasibullah Barzai, said the provincial government has conveyed to the central government its inability to deal with the security of NATO containers.

Suspected militants had carried out many attacks on NATO trucks and oil containers in the past, torching hundreds of vehicles, which had also caused casualties to drivers and civilians.

Pakistani Interior Advisor Rehman Malik has briefed Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf about the security measures for NATO containers, and issued instructions to the provincial authorities to ensure security for the NATO convoys.

Editor:Wang Chuhan |Source: Xinhua

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