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Taliban warn lawmakers over restoration of NATO supplies

26 March, 2012

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PESHAWAR: 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 today, 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 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 terrorists on Pakistani soil and taxes on NATO convoys.

Washington has expressed regret for the border incident but avoided a formal apology. US officials were reportedly preparing to apologise last month but had to postpone the plan after US soldiers burned copies of the holy Quran in Afghanistan. US President Barack Obama apologised for that, bringing criticism from political opponents.

The Pakistan Army will ultimately decide whether to restore ties with the US, but parliament could influence the decision.

End.

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