Terrorized truckers balk at deliveries to U.S. forces

Monday, August 9, 2004

BAGHDAD The U.S. military is feeling the impact of a boycott by truckers of cargo to coalition units in Iraq.

Iraqi sources said U.S. combat units outside of Baghdad have experienced a slowdown in shipments of food, water and supplies over the past few days.

The sources said the U.S. military was increasing flights by air transports to Baghdad and Basra to ensure supplies for U.S. troops.

[In the central Iraqi city of Najaf, fighting between U.S.-led coalition forces and the Shi'ite Mahdi Army continued into its fifth day on Monday, Middle East Newsline reported. A U.S. military commander said more than 360 Mahdi fighters have been killed as the insurgency force's commander, Moqtada Sadr, has pledged not to surrender.]

The sources said the units most affected have been in the Sunni Triangle and Anbar province near the Syrian border.

Last week, Turkey's leading truckers association announced it was ending cargo transports to the U.S. military. The association's announcement came after the Tawhid and Jihad group of Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi executed a Turkish national who worked in a U.S. military base in northern Iraq.

The sources said Asian truck drivers, particularly Indian and Filipino nationals, refused to transport supplies from Kuwait to U.S. forces in Iraq. Theysaid the supplies to the U.S. military to southern Iraq began to dry up over the last week.

The Indian and Philippines embassies in Kuwait have ordered their nationals to stay out of Iraq amid the abduction and execution of foreign nationals by Al Zarqawi's group. Most of the truck drivers who work for Kuwaiti firms with U.S. military contracts have been Filipinos and Indians.

Supplies from Jordan to Iraq have also decreased over the last week in wake of an announcement by two Amman-based firms that they would no longer supply the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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