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Will NATO Summit End Pakistan's Blockade of Afghanistan?

Will NATO Summit End Pakistan's Deadly Blockade of Afghanistan, ISAF ?

Monday, May 21 2012
Press Release: Afghanistan Foundation
info@afghanistan-foundation.org

During the final day of the NATO Summit in Chicago, the Afghanistan Foundation is urging Pakistan's Army to fully re-open its border with Afghanistan for the purpose of the resupply of NATO/ISAF and American forces. The Afghanistan Foundation is welcoming reports that Pakistan has permitted the re-opening of its border with Afghanistan to allow a limited number of trucks and containers to resupply the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. However, serious concerns remain during the final hours of the NATO Summit as to whether or not the Pakistani military will end its blockade of Afghanistan in a timely fashion.

The Kabul and Washington, D.C.-based Afghanistan Foundation is again appealing to Pakistan, and its military and Inter-Service Intelligence Agency (ISI), to fully re-open the Afghanistan–Pakistan border to allow trucks to resupply NATO /ISAF forces in a full-scale, and timely, manner.

“We again welcome recent reports that Pakistan’s ISI, and military, has permitted a limited number of NATO/ ISAF sponsored trucks to resupply the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan,” said Philip Smith, Director of the Afghanistan Foundation. “Clearly, this is long overdue, but the NATO/ISAF trucks should be allowed to roll across the border in an unfettered manner, without horrific and unreasonable tolls that may continue to bleed Afghanistan and the U.S. and European taxpayer.”
http://www.afghanistan-foundation.org

Smith commented further: “The Afghanistan Foundation is proposing to Pakistani officials a fair and reasonable transit fee of no more than $350 per truck-- that the government of Pakistan could apply to NATO/ISAF resupply trucks crossing the border from Pakistan to Afghanistan, or vice-a-versa. Otherwise, to NATO and the international community, this simply appears to be highway robbery by the ISI, for elements of Pakistan’s military and intelligence services to simply delay lifting the blockade and then demand many thousands of dollars per truck in border transit fees, to resupply American and NATO/ISAF forces fighting against instability and terrorism in Afghanistan.”

Smith continued: "The Afghanistan Foundation is proposing a transit fee of no more than $350-$400 per truck (depending on the size of the truck and its weight) be charged by Pakistani officials, and the ISI, on NATO/ISAF resupply trucks crossing the border from Pakistan to Afghanistan, or vice-a-versa. According to the Afghanistan Foundation, if Pakistan's Army and intelligence services charge more than $350- $400 per truck crossing the border into Afghanistan, this may backfire on Islamabad at the local, national and international level. The continued blockade of the border, or gross extortion by elements of the Pakistani Army upon NATO / ISAF truck convoys, may further harm Pakistan-Afghanistan relations as well as Pakistan's economic status domestically and internationally."

"Will the NATO Summit in Chicago and international opinion help to convince the Pakistani Army and ISI, that it is in Pakistan's long-term strategic and tactical interests, to end Pakistan's military blockade of Afghanistan and the NATO/ISAF resupply convoys ?" Smith questioned.

“Today, at the NATO Summit in Chicago, we are once again urgently appealing, and calling upon the government of Pakistan, and its military and Inter-Service Intelligence Agency), to fully re-open the Afghanistan – Pakistan border to allow trucks to resupply NATO /ISAF, and American forces in a full-scale and comprehensive manner,” Mr. Smith stated further.

Smith concluded: “It is in Pakistan’s national interest to fully end the border blockade in a timely and fair manner—- and to not grossly overcharge each truck and rob NATO/ISAF and the U.S. taxpayer; During the current economic downturn and recession in Europe and the United States, grossly overcharging the NATO /ISAF resupply trucks to Afghanistan may be seen by some policymakers as extortion, and backfire on Pakistan, in the U.S. Congress, European capitals and within NATO. Long-term instability, and chaos in Afghanistan, if it returns to a failed-state status, may also infect Pakistan and cause it to eventually disintegrate and implode.”

Since November of 2011, the Afghanistan Foundation has repeatedly expressed concern about the reported killing of Pakistani military troops by NATO/ISAF forces during border-area airstrikes, while at the same time urging that the Afghanistan-Pakistan border be re-opened for NATO/ISAF resupply trucks and convoys.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1112/S00637/will-us-defense-secretary-visit-end-afghan-blockade.htm

The Afghanistan Foundation is a non-profit and non-governmental organization (NGO) focused on research, education, policy analysis, international security, economic development, humanitarian affairs and other issues in Afghanistan-- and the regions of South Asia, Central Asia, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.

ends

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