LANDI KOTAL, Sept 5: The government is reported to have decided to stop fuel supplies to Nato forces in Afghanistan via the Torkham highway with effect from Saturday.

“An order to this effect has come from Islamabad and the Frontier Corps has been asked to stop oil supplies to Nato forces forthwith,” a senior government official said.

Sources said the federal government did not cite any reason for the move, but the decision was apparently taken in the wake of the US ground and missile attacks in North and South Waziristan tribal regions.

The US-led forces have intensified assaults in the tribal region over the past few days and five attacks, including the ground assault in Angoor Adda, have been launched, killing over 50 people, including foreign and local militants and civilians.

The Torkham highway, linking Peshawar with Kabul and northern parts of Afghanistan and Central Asian states, is a major supply route for the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in the war-ravaged country.

Over 20 heavily-loaded vehicles, including oil tankers, were stranded at the border town of Torkham following the government’s decision.

However, an official told Dawn in Peshawar that the supplies had been suspended only temporarily because of the law and order situation in the Khyber tribal region.

“Why would Pakistan suspend oil supplies due to increased US attacks in the region? It goes against conventional wisdom,” the official said.

“Torkham highway has become extremely dangerous due to militancy in Jamrud and Landi Kotal. The administration needs to beef up security of the highway. When we have enough troops on the ground to ensure safety of oil tankers, the supplies would be allowed to go through,” he added.

He denied that the decision to suspend oil supplies had come from Islamabad and said it was taken at the local level in view of the security situation.

The sources said that militants had increased their activities in the Khyber region after the military operation in Bajaur.

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