Friday, January 25, 2008

Taliban seize Nato supplies in Pakistan

Isambard Wilkinson in Tank, Pakistan

The suspected mastermind behind Benazir Bhutto's assassination has stolen sophisticated Nato equipment by raiding the alliance's supply lines running through Pakistani territory.

Mr Musharraf, who is touring Europe, will speak in London today

Baitullah Mehsud, the Taliban commander who American officials hold responsible for Miss Bhutto's death, has emerged as a threat to the flow of supplies for British and American forces fighting in neighbouring Afghanistan. Mehsud's increasing prominence shows how Pakistan under President Pervez Musharraf is steadily falling under the sway of Islamist militants.

Mr Musharraf, who is touring Europe, will speak in London today on "a vision for Pakistan and regional harmony". His critics believe, however, that turmoil in Pakistan is fuelling the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and helping to destabilise South Asia as a whole.

A senior government official, based near the frontier town of Tank, told The Daily Telegraph that Mehsud's men regularly ambushed container lorries carrying hardware bound for Nato forces in Afghanistan.

Their latest target was a supply convoy outside the town of Dera Ismail Khan on the Indus Highway, one of Pakistan's main arteries.

"They managed to single out the most important lorries, removed the drivers and then vanished the consignment lock stock and barrel," said the official.

"Among the booty they discovered trucks carrying cargos of pristine 4x4 military vehicles, fitted with the most modern communications and listening technology," he added.

The official added that Mehsud's gunmen lacked the expertise to operate the equipment. So they enlisted the help of Uzbek and other foreign militants who are based in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas lining the north-west frontier.

Gen Athar Abbas, Pakistan's military spokesman, declined to comment on this incident. A Nato spokesman in Kabul did not rule out that material had been stolen in transit through Pakistan, but denied that any weapons or military equipment had been lost.

"This may hinge on what people's definition of 'equipment' is," he said. "I have been assured that no military equipment has been lost."

About 40 per cent of the supplies needed for Nato's 42,000 soldiers in Afghanistan pass through Pakistan. The vital supply routes follow the Indus valley from the port city of Karachi to the border town of Peshawar.

They enter Afghanistan through the Khyber Pass. Other border crossings from Pakistan's province of Baluchistan are also used.

Information appearing on is the copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence.

Comment:When Fatah fled Gaza terrorist Hamas inherited weapons that had been provided in order to 'prop up' and strengthen the terrorist Abbas. Does anyone want to prophesy the final address for the sophisticated weapons that Bush requested for Saudi Arabia ? Whoever has them will eventually use them against Israel! We should be screaming about this!!

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