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Pakistani Protesters Rally Against US, NATO


Thousands of Pakistani protesters have rallied in the northwestern city of Peshawar to demand Islamabad end its logistical support for U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Nearly 5,000 protesters from Pakistan's Jamaat-e-Islami political party chanted anti-U.S. slogans and 'God is Greatest' as they marched through Peshawar Thursday. They called on the government to block a vital Pakistani supply route used by Western forces to deliver military supplies into Afghanistan.

Party chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed accused U.S.-led military forces of using the critical Khyber Pass supply route to work against the interests of Muslims around the world.

Today's protest follows a series of recent militant attacks on NATO and U.S. military supply depots and convoys in northwestern Pakistan.

Militants have destroyed hundreds of trucks in the assaults, but Western military officials say the attacks have not affected their operations.

The attacks have fueled concerns that insurgents are trying to choke the supply route through the Khyber Pass, which carries around 70 percent of supplies for Western forces in landlocked Afghanistan.

Pakistan's foreign ministry says President Asif Ali Zardari will visit Afghanistan Friday for talks with his counterpart, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, on ways to jointly combat terrorism - which the ministry says "poses a common threat to the peace and security of both states."

Resurgent Taliban militants and their allies have been blamed for the rise in attacks on both sides of the border in recent months.

It will be Mr. Zardari's first trip to Afghanistan since he took office in September.

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