US refutes claims of 19,000 US containers missing from Karachi ports

ISLAMABAD: The US embassy in Islamabad on Thursday refuted media reports suggesting 19,000 shipping containers belonging to the US and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had been stolen from Karachi ports.


The head of the Sindh Rangers paramilitary force, Maj-Gen Rizwan Akhtar, told the Supreme Court last week that about 19,000 containers had gone missing a few years ago and that a shipload of arms and ammunition had been brought to Karachi and their whereabouts was never ascertained. Local media reports suggested the containers carrying weapons may have belonged to Nato forces in Afghanistan.

Rejecting the reports, a statement from the US embassy said media suggestions that US or ISAF containers were stolen, including containers that contain weapons and ammunition, were false. “While the United States routinely uses Karachi ports for both diplomatic and military shipments, neither the United States nor ISAF has ever shipped weapons or ammunition via Karachi ports,” said the statement.

The statement said US government and ISAF cargo shipments were subject to inspection by Pakistani customs authorities and that the US tracks and accounts for all military cargo shipments worldwide, including shipments entering and transiting Pakistan.

“We have engaged the appropriate Pakistani authorities on this topic. We have underscored that the United States is able to account for all shipments that have arrived in and transited Karachi ports,” said the US embassy.

Pakistan serves as a key transit route for the US and ISAF forces in landlocked Afghanistan. Pakistan and the US have signed a deal allowing military supplies to travel into Afghanistan until the end of 2015.

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