Fuel supply to Nato troops via Torkham restored
LANDI KOTAL: Supply of fuel to Nato troops through the Torkham border post resumed on Wednesday after one year when two oil tankers crossed into Afghanistan amid tight security.
The fuel supply remained suspended despite resumption of overall supplies in July this year after the US apologised to the government over the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a Nato air strike on the Salala checkpost in Mohmand Agency in November last year.
The local administration had deployed additional khasadars and FC personnel along the Peshawar-Torkham Highway to ensure smooth and safe crossing over of the tankers which had entered Khyber Agency from Peshawar.
The oil supplies could not be restored so far partly because of security concerns of the transporters and local political administration and partly due to a row between tanker owners, logistics companies and oil contractors over delay in payment of outstanding dues.
Nearly 200 transporters suspended work after accusing the logistics companies of denying them daily pay-off for about four months. But the companies denied the charge and argued that all the dues had been cleared through their mutual agents in accordance with a formula the companies and transporters had agreed.
Oil tankers were the main target of militants before the supplies were suspended last year. The attacks destroyed more than 200 tankers and left over a dozen drivers and owners killed over the past five years.
Although the political administration claimed to have adopted stringent safety measures for oil tankers, residents in Landi Kotal and Jamrud have demanded that a limited number of tankers should be allowed at a specific time to ensure security of ordinary people travelling on the Peshawar-Torkham Road.
On Wednesday, the administration had to suspend traffic for over an hour after the passage of oil tankers when they were informed about the presence of an explosive device planted along the road in Jamrud. Traffic was restored after a bomb disposal squad defused the device. Forces later arrested 15 suspects during a search operation in the area.