Pakistan shuts down a key U.S. supply line
Pakistan suspended truck shipments of U.S. military supplies through the Khyber Pass on Tuesday after launching an offensive against militants who are trying to cripple Washington’s war on a resurgent Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan.
The U.S. military said a temporary closure of the key supply line was not a problem, and it praised the campaign in the rugged hills of northwestern Pakistan where Al Qaeda leaders -- including Osama bin Laden -- are believed to be hiding.
Militants in the Khyber Pass have vowed to choke off supplies heading across Pakistan’s western border to American and NATO troops in Afghanistan, where fighting is escalating seven years after the U.S.-led invasion toppled a Taliban regime.
Western forces in landlocked Afghanistan rely on the winding, mountainous road for delivery of up to 75% of their fuel, food and other goods, which arrive in Pakistan via the port city of Karachi.
Ammunition and weapons are flown in.
With the U.S. preparing to almost double the number of its soldiers in Afghanistan next year, the Western forces already were negotiating for alternative supply routes.