23 April 2011
NATO supplies halted ahead of Pakistan protest
by Staff Writers


http://www.spacewar.com/reports/NATO_supplies_halted _ahead_of_Pakistan_protest_999.html

Helicopter crash kills foreign soldier in Afghanistan
Kabul (AFP) April 23, 2011 - A member of the coalition force in Afghanistan died Saturday after his helicopter crashed, the military said, as two Afghan policemen died in a separate Taliban ambush. The helicopter went down after apparently hitting a cable connecting two mountains in Kapisa province, northeast of the capital Kabul. International troops came under fire from insurgents as they arrived at the scene to rescue two crew members, NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said. "The two crew members were recovered by coalition forces, one died at the scene from injuries received in the crash," it said in a statement. "Aircraft recovery operations and heavy fighting continue in the area. The cause of the crash is unknown and is under investigation."

It did not disclose the nationality of the dead service member, in line with policy. The helicopter hit a cable, said Kapisa deputy provincial governor Aziz Ul Rahman. "Initial information we have says that the helicopter of the foreign forces has hit a cable that the local people in Alasay district had erected between two mountains to ferry rocks," he said. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed its forces had shot down the helicopter, killing all those aboard. The militants are known frequently to exaggerate their claims. The serviceman was the second from the NATO-led ISAF to die Saturday. Another was killed separately in eastern Afghanistan, ISAF said, without giving further details.

Peshawar, Pakistan (AFP) - Pakistan suspended delivery of supplies Saturday to NATO troops in Afghanistan via its land border for three days as campaigners began a sit-in on the supply route over US drone attacks.

Supporters of cricket hero-turned-politician Imran Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party were gathering on the Peshawar ring road Saturday for the planned two-day sit-in aiming to block the route used by supply trucks.

The party called the demonstration to protest over US missile attacks from unmanned aircraft in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas, which many feel infringe on Pakistani sovereignty and which locals say sometimes kill civilians.

"They (the US) are losing the war -- they can never win it," Khan told a gathering in the northwestern town of Akora Khattak on his way to the protest site in the Bagh-e-Naran neighbourhood.

"The sit-in will start today and will end tomorrow," he added.

The administration in Peshawar said the NATO trucking service had been halted for three days, and the vehicles ordered to park in other cities on the route from Friday.

Organisers said they expected more than 20,000 people to gather locally for the protest, and many more to arrive in the caravan accompanying Khan.

In an article in Pakistan's The News, Khan said that "today we Pakistanis of all shades and convictions need to come together to support our FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) brethren and protest their killing and displacement.

"It is not enough to simply issue statements against US policies and drone killings; we need to act so that the voice of the people becomes a force for the rulers to reckon with," he said.

Banners on Peshawar's main road bore the message "Stop drone attacks on innocent tribal people," and images of crossed-out drone aircraft, while posters of Khan and his party dotted the city.

Covert missile strikes targeting militants in Pakistan's lawless border regions, believed to operate with the tacit consent of Islamabad, stoke rampant anti-American sentiment throughout the South Asian nation.

Public anger rose amid a diplomatic furore between the two nations over a drone attack on March 17, which killed 39 people including civilians.

US officials said Friday that the global superpower was considering providing unmanned drones to Pakistan for aerial surveillance, despite tensions between the two countries over measures to combat terrorist activity.

NATO supply trucks and oil tankers are the targets of frequent attacks blamed on insurgents attempting to disrupt supplies for more than 130,000 international troops fighting in Afghanistan.

Most supplies and equipment required by coalition troops in Afghanistan are shipped through Pakistan, although US troops increasingly use alternative routes through central Asia.

Two truck drivers have been killed this week by militants in revenge for transporting goods for NATO.

Global Network