NATO is about to lose access to its primary supply line into occupied Afghanistan, the Khyber Pass, as Imran Khan, the leader of the Pakistani Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI), the political party which runs the Khyber Pakhtunkhah Province (KP) through which the supplies travel, has vowed to implement a blockade in retaliation for US drone strikes.
Khan had initially threatened such a blockade after the November 1 US drone strike that killed Hakimullah Mehsud, just 24 hours before Hakimullah was set to open peace talks with the Pakistani government, but delayed his plans when no US strikes followed.
Last night, the day of Khan’s initial deadline for ending all drone attack, the US drones attacked a religious school in the KP city of Hangu, destroying it and killed eight people.
Khan said that the provincial cabinet has been called in for an emergency meeting after the strike, and is expected to implement the blockade over the weekend. He also condemned the strikes for putting civilians’ lives in danger. The opposition Awami Muslim League has thrown its support behind the blockade as well.
The ruling party on a national level, the Pakistani Muslim League-N (PML-N) has not yet commented on the planned blockade, and Khan has accused their leader, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, of secretly permitting the US strikes even as he publicly condemns them. PML-N officials denied the allegation, but gave no indication they’d do anything about the latest attack.