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    Millions of books for Afghan students stuck in Pakistan

    KABUL CITY (PAN): Afghanistan-bound containers carrying four million textbooks remain stranded at the Karachi port, Pakistan’s commercial hub, three weeks after Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani ordered their release, an official said on Tuesday.

    Seven million books for secondary schools were published by the US military in the United Arabic Emirates (UAE). Of them, three million have reached Kabul, education ministry spokesman, Amanullah Aiman, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    Hundreds of Afghan containers with commercial goods have been stuck in the neighbouring country since a Nov. 26 NATO airstrike that hit two security posts in the Mohmand tribal region.

    Soon after the attack that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead, Islamabad closed the key supply route for the Afghanistan-based International Security Assistance Force.

    “Textbooks are to be distributed to students before the new academic year beginning on March 22,” the ministry spokesman said, adding the blockade was hampering efforts at facilitating students.

    “We hope the issue will be resolved soon, as it has nothing to do with politics,” Aiman remarked, saying the ministry had contacted US and Pakistan embassies several times, but the problem remained unresolved.

    President Karzai, during a recent visit to Pakistan, asked Gilani to address the issue.  The Pakistani leader directed the officials concerned to look into the problem, but the books are yet to be transported to the landlocked country.