Saturday, July 5, 2008

Local Taliban Warn Trucks Against Supplying To NATO

KARACHI, June 25: Handbills and pamphlets threatening truck drivers and warning them against supplying oil and goods to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) troops in Afghanistan are being distributed by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan in Shireen Jinnah Colony and the Mauripur truck stand, Dawn has learnt.

Truckers of Shireen Jinnah Colony said that such handbills, which threaten dire consequences if the directives are not followed, were distributed and pasted at the entrance of Kauser Masjid, the area’s main mosque, a few weeks ago.

A contractor associated with oil supplies from Shireen Jinnah Colony guided this reporter to the mosque where the pamphlets are pasted, but fear led him to keep a considerable distance from the mosque. “I cannot afford to be seen with you in this area,” he explained before walking away. “These threats have affected our work and supplies to Afghanistan have dropped to some extent. Not everyone is willing to go ahead with such a risky trip now.”

According to this source, no one has so far informed the police or any other authority about the threats. Upon the condition of anonymity, an office-bearer of the Karachi Goods Transport Association confirmed the distribution of threatening handbills by the Tehreek-i-Taliban in the Mauripur truck stand area. He added that such intimidation tactics have been used in Bannu and D.I. Khan for well over a year, and there have been incidents of containers being looted and hijacked.

Chilling threats

A copy of the pamphlet was obtained by Dawn and translated from Urdu, it states: “All the owners of trucks and trailers, drivers and truck stand owners, are warned that all supplies to Nato, the International Security Force and US forces should be stopped within a week’s time.

“After the deadline, if any truck or trawler is caught supplying diesel, petrol or goods, not only will the vehicle be set on fire but the driver will also be brutally slaughtered. These attacks will be carried out starting from Karachi to Peshawar, Chaman, Kandahar and Bagram until such time that the supply line of the Christian [sic] army is severed.

“Therefore, all drivers are advised not to destroy their life in the hereafter and refrain from helping the infidels […]

“Don’t you know that the very diesel, petrol and other goods being supplied to the warring coalition forces are being used to bomb Muslim children and women? […] Thus, are you not equally responsible in this massacre?

“Today the Christian forces are being supplied all kinds of goods by conscience-less and irreligious transporters and drivers like you.

“So don’t the Taliban deserve the right to slaughter non-believers like you?

“[…] After the deadline, all the drivers who have not stopped supplying goods to the Christian forces will be made into an example to others.”

At the end, the pamphlet singles out the Afridi and Shinwari tribes and warns them against helping “infidels” take over Afghanistan.

Another source associated with oil supplies told Dawn that a private concern, which has a high stake in supplying oil to Nato forces in Afghanistan, had been receiving such warnings from the Tehreek-i-Taliban for many months. The concern did not take the threats seriously, and a group member’s younger brother was kidnapped by unknown persons recently and remains untraced.