Afghan Unrest Idles Pakistani Truckers Supplying NATO

Attacks on Khyber Pass route have drivers demanding a pay increase
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2008 12:45 PM CST
A Pakistani police officer stands guard next to vehicles loaded with supplies for U.S. and allied forces at the Pakistani border town of Chaman along Afghanistan on Sunday. Dec. 14, 2008.   (AP Photo/Shah Khalid)
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(Newser) – Last week’s attacks on American supply lines have Pakistani truck drivers refusing to drive into Afghanistan to resupply NATO troops, the Times of London reports. The route through the Khyber Pass was scheduled to reopen today, but the truckers union is holding out for a significant bump in pay. "They're on strike," said a Pakistani trucking company rep. "It could last a month, or it could last a day."

Militants destroyed 260 vehicles on the route across 2 days last week. NATO and the US military claim the attacks are militarily insignificant, but analysts say a long stoppage could affect operations. NATO is also considering opening new supply lines through Russia and Uzbekistan or Kazakhstan. The 67,000 international troops posted to Afghanistan rely on the trucking routes for more than two-thirds of their supplies.