In September of 2010, the US and Pakistan faced a crisis in relations after the killing of two Pakistani soldiers at a border outpost. Pakistan closed the Torkham supply crossing through the Khyber Pass as a result of the incident. Today, Pakistan has closed both the Torkham and the Chaman crossings, indicating a very strong response to an incident in which up to 28 have been killed at a Pakistani border post.
The Washington Post describes the situation in this way:
The Pakistani army on Saturday accused NATO helicopters of firing on two Pakistani border checkposts and killing 24 soldiers, and officials quickly closed a key border crossing used by convoys carrying supplies to Afghanistan.
The attack, which took place early Saturday in the Mohmand region of Pakistan’s tribal belt along the Afghan border, seemed certain to mark a new downturn in the ever-rocky U.S.-Pakistan alliance. NATO troops battling militants in Afghanistan coordinate border operations with the Pakistani military, but Pakistan does not allow coalition forces to enter or fire inside its territory without permission. Various Islamist militant factions are based in Pakistan’s remote tribal areas, from where they can easily slip across the border to attack inside Afghanistan.
Pakistani officials issued swift condemnations. The powerful army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, said in a statement that the firing was an unprovoked act of “aggression” that prompted Pakistani troops to fire in self-defense. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the matter would be “taken up by the foreign ministry, in the strongest terms, with NATO and the U.S.”
We learn from the Express Tribune that the order to close at least the Torkham crossing was not a local decision:
Official sources confirmed the suspension of supplies, adding that all containers were stopped at the Takhta Baig check post in Jamrud tehsil of Khyber Agency.
“We have suspended the supply and will not let even a single container move ahead,” the official added.
“We have stopped NATO supplies after receiving orders from the federal government,” Mutahir Hussain, a senior administration official in Khyber tribal region, on the Afghan border, told AFP. ”Supply trucks are being sent back to Peshawar.”