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Pakistan Re-Opens Military Supply Route to Afghanistan


Pakistan has reopened the Khyber Pass, allowing supply trucks through the vital route to U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. The route had been closed for three days to battle militants.

Authorities let traffic through to the border for five hours Friday and say they will open the road for similar periods in the next few days. They said security forces will continue their offensive aimed at stopping the spate of recent attacks on military convoys and supply depots.

The top official in the border region showed reporters a large cache of weapons and ammunition seized during the operation, and said 43 suspected militants and wanted criminals have been arrested.

Also in the northwest, Pakistani officials say a suspected U.S. missile strike killed at least three militants.

Officials say the missiles destroyed an abandoned school in South Waziristan, in an area known as a stronghold of a Pakistani Taliban commander, Baitullah Mehsud.

Pakistan has accused the United States of using drones to carry out more than 30 attacks on suspected terrorist targets in the past year. Washington has never confirmed nor denied the attacks.

U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan get up to 75 percent of their supplies by road through Pakistan. The Khyber Pass is the main route.

The top military officers from Afghanistan and Pakistan met with the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan today to discuss ways to enhance border security.

At the meeting in Kabul, the officials, Afghan General Bismullah Khan Mohammadi, Pakistani General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and U.S. General David McKiernan, discussed the establishment of border communication centers to improve intelligence-sharing between security forces on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani frontier.

A coalition statement says one center already exists near the Khyber Pass, and officers discussed building another further south, in Paktia province, as well as a larger Joint Coordination Center. The statement says the goal is to disrupt militant activity along the border by coordinating the efforts of the Afghan and Pakistani armies and border police.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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