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Transporters threaten to stop Nato supplies

Published Apr 27, 2007 12:00am

PESHAWAR, April 26: Pakistan-Afghan transporters on Thursday threatened to suspend from Friday transport of goods to Nato forces in Afghanistan if collection of “illegally levied taxes and extortion money” across the border by so-called commanders was not stopped.

“We are now fed up and have unanimously decided to stop all sort of supply from Pakistan to the US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, because not only the so-called commanders, but the Afghan government also charges huge taxes in the form of road tax, tool plaza tax and annual tax,” they said.

Speaking at a joint news conference, the transporters and owners of trailers, Shakir Afridi, Aziz Afridi, Abdul Rehman Ahmadzai, Qasim Arab and Bacha Oriakhel, said the strike would continue till their demands were accepted. They said a complete strike would be observed on Friday.

They claimed that they were usually stopped at gunpoint across the border and the commanders demanded huge amounts of money. Drivers and owners of trailers were tortured when they refused to pay the money, they said.

“We have brought this into the notice of the Afghan government time and again, but to no avail,” they said, adding that they had met Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other influential individuals who had always promised to stop the practice, but the commanders did not act upon government directives.

They called upon the Pakistan government to help them and resolve the issue.

They said transporters paid Rs3,000 in three months to the Pakistan government and Rs120,000 to Afghan authorities annually.