Border closures haven't hampered military effort, U.S. says
Pentagon says it will ensure troops get what they need
Police say 7 militants on motorcycles attack parked oil tankers
Tankers had been parked since Pakistan shut down NATO supply routes last month
The Pentagon continued to say the closure of two border points by Pakistan has had no impact on the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan.
“We do believe these are important supply routes and we hope that in the near future they can be reopened,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said Wednesday.
Capt. John Kirby, also a Pentagon spokesman, said about 30% of U.S. supplies come through Pakistan, but there has been no impact.
“We would certainly like to see those gates reopen; that is a decision that obviously is up to the government of Pakistan,” Kirby said. “One other thing I would add is that this is a war – so we are going to make sure the troops get what they need, when and where they need it.”
Little said it was important to note that Pakistan had not entirely vacated the bases along the Afghanistan border. Officials hope to avoid a repeat of an NATO airstrike in recent weeks that killed 24 Pakistani military personnel. On November 26, the Pakistani government shut down both NATO supply routes through Pakistan to Afghanistan in protest.
Thursday night, militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons attacked and destroyed at least 22 oil tankers parked in Pakistan, a senior Pakistani police official told CNN. He said the vehicles were carrying fuel for NATO troops in Afghanistan,
At least seven militants on motorcycles took part in the attack, said police official Hamid Shakeel. All seven escaped the scene, he said.
The attack took place at a terminal just outside of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, where the trucks had been parked since November 26, Shakeel said.
The airstrike was the latest blow to an already stormy partnership between the United States and Pakistan and plunged relations into perhaps the worst crisis since the two countries agreed to join forces in the fight against Islamist militancy after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
During the past two years militants have increasingly targeted NATO tankers and supply trucks in an attempt to disrupt two key supply routes and undermine the NATO mission in neighboring Afghanistan. The attacks have forced NATO increasingly to use alternative routes through central Asia.
Police said there were no reports of any injuries immediately after the attack.
Keyes, CNN’s senior national security producer, reported from Washington, and Sayah reported from Islamabad, Pakistan.