nato-supply-trucks-file-670
Nato supply trucks. — File photo

PESHAWAR: Four containers laden with supplies for the US Embassy in Kabul crossed into Afghanistan from Pakistan via Torkham border post, officials said on Friday.

A local official while confirming supplies to the US Embassy via Torkham said he could not say when the cargo had been transported.

“Pakistan government has never put restriction on the transportation of supplies for the diplomatic missions, including the American Embassy in Kabul,” a senior official, who is dealing with the matter, said. “Ban on the transportation of Nato supplies is still intact.”

There were reports that the four trucks had crossed into Afghanistan on Friday.

Pakistan closed land routes used for carrying Nato supplies to Afghanistan in protest against last year’s Nato air strikes on the Salala border post in which 24 Pakistani troops were killed.

AFP adds: Pakistan allowed the four containers to cross into Afghanistan for the first time following a six-month blockade.

The trucks were permitted to cross as President Asif Ali Zardari prepares to meet Nato leaders at a key summit in Chicago, accepting a last-minute invitation after Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar indicated Pakistan was willing to review the blockade.

“I can’t give you the exact number but a lot more will go to Afghanistan in coming days. These all are diplomatic shipments – I mean non-Nato supplies,” one of the officials said.

In Kabul, the US embassy said it could not confirm the shipment.

Almost 300 containers of US embassy supplies, including stationery, computers and printers, are understood to have been stranded in Pakistan by the blockade.

A customs official at the border in Torkham, Khyber Agency, said they had received a list of 300 containers which would cross into Afghanistan in the coming days.

“I can confirm that three trucks have gone to Afghanistan and there are also reports about the crossing of the fourth one on Friday,” said the official who declined to be named.

“The rest of the containers are also likely to pass in the coming days,” he said.

Pakistan earlier this week said it had ordered officials to finalise an agreement as quickly as possible on lifting the blockade on overland Nato supplies to Afghanistan.

Pakistan and US officials are still negotiating rules, fees and logistics for resuming the Nato transit lines, and Islamabad has not said when Nato supplies will resume.

The United States has guaranteed payment of at least $1.1 billion should the borders reopen as compensation for fighting militants, although Pakistan believes it is owed far more, one source said.