Afghan Endgame: US Withdraws Military Equipment via Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: The United States has started withdrawing military equipment from Afghanistan and a first convoy of containers crossed the Torkham border point headed to Karachi for shipment, said an official of the cargo company on Sunday.
An official of the cargo company, Bilal Associates, from Karachi told The Express Tribunevia phone call that his company received clearance for the US defence equipment at the Torkham border point on Friday.
He said that the first convoy of nearly 25 containers was cleared by the Pakistani custom officials and was allowed to proceed to Karachi.
The official, on condition of anonymity, said that another convoy of containers will enter Pakistan next week. “Many more would follow as it is a huge operation,” he said.
The US plans to withdraw several thousand troops from the war-torn Afghanistan this year and the Nato has set 2014 for a complete withdrawal. Washington is engaged in talks with Kabul for a security pact that is likely to allow presence of some troops in Afghanistan after the Nato withdrawal.
The United States, which has currently more than 60,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of nearly 150,000 Nato force, plans to withdraw all its combat troops by 2014.
Top US military officials had earlier stated they would need Pakistan’s support in exit strategy and its land routes will be crucial for withdrawal of troops and equipment. Last year, Pakistan allowed the US military cargo and non-containerised equipment to enter its territory at Torkham and Chaman border in Balochistan province.
Pakistan, however, linked transit of the US military cargo at the time of withdrawal from Afghanistan with certification that Washington would not transit any hazardous waste material and uranium.