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Pakistan Taliban warning over NATO supply route
by Staff Writers
Peshawar, Pakistan (AFP) March 25, 2012

The Pakistani Taliban on Sunday threatened to attack lawmakers if they voted in support of resuming supplies for NATO troops in Afghanistan, a spokesman said.

Pakistan sealed its border with Afghanistan to NATO supply convoys after NATO air strikes in November killed 24 Pakistani soldiers near the border, triggering outrage in Islamabad.

The deadly incident heightened tensions in an already fragile relationship with Pakistani officials alleging deliberate US targeting of their troops at border posts.

From Monday Pakistani lawmakers are to debate new parameters for getting the troubled relationship back on track, expected to see Pakistan eventually reopen its Afghan border to NATO convoys after a four-month closure.

"Everybody knows we are against restoration of NATO supplies and we will target each and every member of the parliament who will support the restoration," Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP in a telephone call from an undisclosed location.

"We are also advising the drivers of NATO supply trucks to quit this job otherwise they will be responsible for any consequences," Ehsan said.

The recommendations for a recrafted relationship -- up for debate in Pakistan's parliament -- include a US apology for the November killings, an end to drone strikes against militants on Pakistani soil and taxes on NATO convoys.

There are around 130,000 foreign troops in landlocked Afghanistan waging a 10-year battle against a Taliban-led insurgency who rely on fuel, food and equipment brought in from outside.

Nearly half of all cargo bound for foreign troops goes through Pakistan.

A NATO investigation into the November 26 strike on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border concluded that both the international alliance and Pakistani forces made mistakes in the incident -- findings rejected by Pakistan.

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No US soldiers to face charges for Pakistan strike: report
Washington (AFP) March 24, 2012 - The US military has decided that no service members will face disciplinary charges for a NATO airstrike in November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, The New York Times reported late Saturday.

A Pentagon investigation found late last year that both US and Pakistani troops were responsible for the exchange of fire.

But it noted that the Pakistanis had fired first from two border posts not on coalition maps, and that they kept firing even after the Americans tried to warn them that they were shooting at allied troops.

Pakistan rejected these conclusions.

The US military launched a second inquiry to determine whether any American military personnel should be punished.

This recently completed review had come up with a negative conclusion, the Times reported, citing three unnamed military officials.

Officials said the Americans fired in self-defense, the report said, and any other mistakes had been the result of battlefield confusion.

"We found nothing criminally negligent on the part of any individual in our investigations of the incident," The Times quoted one senior US military official as saying.

Pakistani-US relations plummeted after the killing of Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in a military operation carried out inside Pakistan but without Islamabad's knowledge.

It was seen as a humiliation for the nation's rulers.

Relations suffered further after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in the November clash.


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West to pay Afghan military $4 bn a year: Karzai
Kabul (AFP) March 22, 2012
The West will subsidise Afghan security forces by more than $4 billion a year after US-led troops leave in 2014, President Hamid Karzai said Thursday, implicitly accepting a cut in the planned size of his military. Western officials told AFP that no final agreements had been reached on funding or on the size of Afghanistan's security forces after combat troops in NATO's US-led International ... read more

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