PAKISTAN BLOCKS NATO ROUTE! –after US gunship kills three Pakistani soldiers

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Mounting fury over a number of NATO air strikes into Pakistani territory, yesterday saw Pakistan seal its border with Afghanistan blocking the NATO supply route!

The last straw was an air strike by a NATO helicopter that killed three Pakistani troops and wounded three others at a Pakistan border post yesterday.

Frontier Corps officials said that NATO helicopters entered Pakistani airspace and bombed a paramilitary checkpoint in an ‘unprovoked attack’ in Mandati Kandaw village.

One official said NATO helicopters again violated Pakistani airspace and fired seven shells near a Pakistani border security checkpoint but caused no casualties later yesterday.

Senior security officials ordered the forces deployed at Torkham border, northwest Pakistan, to block oil tankers and trucks carrying NATO supplies at a checkpoint sharing the border with Afghanistan, and the main NATO supply route into Afghanistan.

‘We have suspended NATO supply trucks for the time being due to security reasons,’ an official in Pakistan’s Frontier Corps paramilitary unit confirmed.

The news came as CIA chief John Panetta was meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani to discuss different issues including NATO air-strikes in Pakistan.

On Tuesday, the Pakistan foreign ministry had strongly protested to NATO over aerial ‘hot pursuit’ attacks from the Afghanistan side into Pakistani territory by NATO ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) helicopters which killed 50 people in two separate incidents.

Pakistani officials yesterday strongly condemned airspace violations and bombing by NATO forces.

The Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Owais Ghani and Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik both condemned the fresh attacks.

Ghani said that the NATO operation was an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty and a ‘blatant act of aggression’. Malik said that Pakistan will not be limited to protesting against the attacks.

A NATO spokesman in Afghanistan claimed that the air-strikes into Pakistan were carried out after the militants attacked a small Afghan security outpost near the border.

NATO and the Pakistani government said they were investigating the incident in the Kurram district, which Washington has claimed is the Al-Qaeda headquarters and a hub of militants fighting in Afghanistan.

The region is being targeted by a record number of US drone strikes and is where Al-Qaeda was alleged to be hatching a plot to attack cities in Britain, France and Germany.

At least 21 such strikes have been recorded in September, including one last Saturday.