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Anti-Drone Protests in Pakistan Stop NATO Supplies from Crossing Afghan/Pak Border
by Ezra Van Auken
Pakistani citizens fed up with American foreign policy, in and around the region, have taken to the streets consistently in recent months. Although not significant in the broad sense of foreign interests, protestors in Pakistan have managed to halt US military shipments headed from Afghanistan into the Pak region.
The timing comes as US forces wind down their stay in Afghanistan, pulling supplies from the war torn country, while the Obama and Karzai administrations remain at a crossroads about post-2014 plans, making plans much more hassling.
Guided more so around the drone campaign in Pakistan, protestors familiar with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), demanded shipment drivers along the Torkham Gate on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to stop for inspections. Protesting inspectors stopped the flow of traffic, searching truckloads for any NATO supplies.
Fearing the worst outcome of these shakedowns, Pentagon officials decided on Tuesday to call off shipments across the border. Spokesperson Mark Wright told press the move was voluntarily, going on to say, “We anticipate that we will be able to resume our shipments through this route in the near future,” hoping protests will clear.
However, pausing the supply line could have unintended consequences, some believe. Khalid Masood, member of the Tehreek-e-Insaf party, told listeners that since the protests started, Pakistanis have successfully inspected and turned back NATO supply trucks, adding that the stoppage is only playing into the demonstration’s favors.
The protests, guided at bringing awareness and an eventual end to American drone strikes started after the lewd strike, which killed Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of Tehrik-i-Taliban. At the time of Mehsud’s targeting, Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif was in peace discussions with the Taliban, and the strike alone essentially derailed talks, for the time being.
US officials haven’t responded to current demonstrations, ignoring the heavy resentment by Pakistanis toward drone policy.