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Pakistani Taliban Warn Drivers Against Carrying NATO Supplies


The Taliban's warning to truck drivers against carrying supplies for the U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan
PRAGUE -- Taliban in Pakistan's Khyber tribal agency have warned truck drivers against carrying supplies for the U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

The warnings were contained in posters stuck on the walls of several markets late on June 21. The markets are located on the road passing through the Khyber tribal agency to Afghanistan.

The posters warn drivers and truck owners not to ship oil, food, or military materiel to the "foreign troops," locals said.

"Truck and tanker drivers or people carrying goods and fuel for NATO forces in Afghanistan or those guarding the freight terminals meant for NATO goods will be targeted," they read.

Truck drivers told Radio Mashaal they feel vulnerable after the latest Taliban warning. They said the government should adopt measures to improve security along the road.

"The government should deploy troops to ensure our security," one driver who did not want to be identified for security reasons told Radio Mashaal. "[This] trouble is existing on the road. Even yesterday a bomb was planted on a fuel taker there. [Earlier], a Punjabi was hit with a bullet while sitting atop a fuel tanker and died."

The posters carried a warning from Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella group including several banned militant groups based in the lawless Pakistani tribal region.

Khyber is one of the seven tribal agencies next to Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. It was converted into a safe haven by the Pakistani Taliban and Al-Qaeda elements following the overthrow of the hard-line Taliban regime in Afghanistan in late 2001.

The 40-kilometer zigzag transit route, known as the Khyber Pass, crosses through the Khyber agency and is the most utilized route to transport NATO's civilian and military goods to Afghanistan.

Taliban fighters usually attack the convoys, mostly fuel tankers, traveling on the road. In one such attack, on November 10, 2008, the Taliban attacked a convoy and seized 12 trucks full of food in addition to two armored vehicles.

In another 2008 attack, more than 100 military vehicles destined for NATO forces in Afghanistan were burned when militants attacked a freight terminal in the city of Peshawar near the Khyber agency.

Asked to comment on the Taliban warning, officials in the Khyber agency told Radio Mashaal they have launched an investigation into the threats.

The officials said they would ensure security along the road, a pledge they have made before.