Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Pakistani protesters carry banners and shout anti-US slogans during a demonstration against US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal region, in Peshawar on November 29, 2013.

Pakistani protesters carry banners and shout anti-US slogans during a demonstration against US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal region, in Peshawar on November 29, 2013.(Photo: A Majeed/ AFP)

Anti-Drone Blockade in Pakistan Forces Halt to US Military Shipments

Protesters vow to continue blockade until US ceases deadly drone strikes in that country

Lauren McCauley

Ongoing protests against U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan are fueling a non-violent blockade along its border that have now forced a halt to NATO military supply convoys heading to neighboring Afghanistan, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

The route, which runs from Torkham Gate at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to the Pakistani port city of Karachi, is one of the primary commercial transit routes of American military cargo out of Afghanistan, said Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright. He added that the U.S. military was "voluntarily" halting shipments through that route "to ensure the safety of the drivers contracted to move our equipment."

Leading opposition leader Imran Khan, whose Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) had organized the protests, said Tuesday that the blockade would not stop until the U.S. brought an end to the deadly drone strikes within his country.

Speaking at a rally of PTI party members who were manning the blockade at one of the country's toll plazas, Khan said that the action was not a declaration of war but a "peaceful way to protest against U.S. aggression and its continued attempts to impede the return of peace to Pakistan."

“The U.S. poses to be a friend of Pakistan. Which friendly country attacks another friend?” he continued.

According to Pakistan's News International,

The PTI workers, along with some from the party’s coalition partner, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), have imposed a blockade on Nato supplies by camping at five points in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. For the last 10 days, they have been disallowing trucks taking goods for Western troops in Afghanistan. They stop vehicles, check their shipment documents and send back those suspected of taking supplies for NATO forces. As hundreds of containers have been stalled by the protest, over a dozen were forced to go back at the Ring Road sit-in.

[Khan] advised his workers not to resort to violence or break the law during their protest against NATO supplies. He told them not to create problems for Afghan Transit Trade vehicles.

Khan vowed that the protest would continue "for an indefinite period," adding "if anyone thought that the PTI would lift the blockade, they were mistaken."

On November 23, thousands of protesters first blockaded the supply route, though at the time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif assured that the NATO supply routes will remain open.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

After Kids Killed in Texas, Dems Declare 'Pass Gun Safety Legislation Now'

"Congress has a moral responsibility to end gun violence now," said Sen. Ed Markey. "To those who refuse to act, there are no excuses. Only complicity and shame."

Jessica Corbett ·


At Least 19 Children, 2 Adults Killed in Texas Elementary School Shooting

"This has become part of who we are as a country," said Julián Castro. "The free availability of guns has not made us safer in the United States or here in the state of Texas."

Brett Wilkins ·


House Dems to Pelosi: Hold Vote for Bill Expanding Social Security

"It is Congress' responsibility to ensure that Social Security's benefits are protected and improved," says a letter to the speaker. "It's time we deliver."

Jessica Corbett ·


Two Years After George Floyd Murder, Biden to Issue Executive Order on Police Reform

"The entire culture and mentality needs to change to bring these words to life, and to save lives," said one civil liberties advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'Wholesale Fraud' in Michigan Governor Race Could Disqualify GOP Candidates

"It looks like the Republican clown car may be losing a few occupants."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo