5 years, 8 months ago
The Captain’s Journal has been very specific, detailed and insistent in our coverage and analysis of the Khyber pass and Torkham Crossing and the need to maintain lines of supply from the port city of Karachi through to Afghanistan. See:
Khyber Pass (category)
Torkham Crossing (category)
The situation is devolving into one of complete control by the Taliban in the Khyber region, and a recent hijacking of supply trucks has been carried out by Baitullah Mehsud’s forces.
Militants in northwest Pakistan hijacked 13 trucks carrying supplies for Western forces in Afghanistan on Monday as they passed through the Khyber Pass, a government official said.
Most supplies, including fuel, for U.S. and other Western forces battling a Taliban insurgency in landlocked Afghanistan are trucked through neighboring Pakistan, which is also facing growing militant violence.
Security along the road leading to the border has deteriorated this year and soldiers carried out a sweep in part of the Khyber region in June to push militants back from the outskirts of Peshawar, the main city in the northwest.
The trucks were seized at four places along a 35 km (20 mile) stretch of the road, said a senior government administrator in the Khyber region.
“About 60 masked gunmen popped up on the road and took away the trucks with their drivers. Not a single shot was fired anywhere,” the official, Bakhtiar Mohmand, told Reuters.
Mohmand said the trucks were not carrying weapons or ammunition but he was not sure what goods they were taking.
He said he believed militants loyal to Pashtun Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud were responsible.
“Baitullah’s men are behind this as they’re very well-equiped and trained,” he said.
But it’s really worse than this report indicates. The Taliban are driving around in stolen HMMWVs.
Taliban militants were driving around in captured US army Humvee armoured vehicles in Pakistan’s tribal region close to the historic Khyber Pass last night after hijacking more than a dozen supply trucks travelling along the vital land route that supplies coalition forces in Afghanistan.
The capture of the Humvees – these days the symbol of US intervention in Iraq and elsewhere – is a serious embarrassment to US commanders of the coalition forces.
Pakistani reporters in the area said the militants unloaded the Humvees from shipping containers on the backs of the trucks and drove off in them, after decorating them with flags and banners of the banned umbrella organisation Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, which is led by Baitullah Mehsud. Mehsud is closely allied to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
The reporters said the hijackings had taken place “in clear view of (Pakistani) paramilitary personnel” deployed at the nearby Jamrud Fort, who “did not take any action”.
“All this happened on the international highway (linking Pakistan with Afghanistan) and you can imagine the implications this can have for us,” an official told Pakistan newspaper Dawn.
Indeed. If there was any additional indication needed as to the capabilities and intent of the Pakistani forces, this should be sufficient. The Pakistani military took no action, and likely will not in the future.