Pakistan Closes Key U.S. Supply Line

"Peshawar is now under threat," said retired Brig. Gen. Mahmood Shah, the former secretary of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. "The pressure on the local government is that Peshawar must be made safe, and so this is a shallow operation to at least protect the suburbs."

The supply line has been closed twice in recent months: in mid-November after a series of attacks on the supply line, including one in which militants took a joy ride in a Humvee for cameras; and in early September, as a protest over the one acknowledged U.S. ground incursion into Pakistan.

The materials burned in the most recent attacks on the supply line included Humvees destined for the Afghan army, but mostly they were materials such as cement destined to build new American barracks, according to people briefed by the U.S. military.

The U.S. military says it intends to almost double its presence in Afghanistan next year, from 32,000 troops to about 60,000 troops.

Troops will fight a resurgent Taliban and its affiliated groups.

Robert Wood, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, told reporters today that roadside bombs had doubled from 2007 to 2008.

In addition to a troop surge, Wood said the United States would soon begin training Afghan tribal members to help defend their villages.

"What we're trying to do, not arm them or disarm them in this regard, but strengthen the community in such a way that it is more self-reliant and it can resist the infiltration and the intimidation ... and the beheadings, and the beatings and the threats against schoolchildren that the Taliban seems to be relying on," Wood said, according to The Associated Press.

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