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NATO's Afghan drivers fear for their lives

It's a dangerous line of work, but truck drivers who move NATO supplies across the Taliban's eastern heartland in Afghanistan do it for the money. Drivers like Habibullah Khan - who owns seven trucks -- move food and military materials from Nuristan to the former al Qaeda cave stronghold of Tora Bora. (SOUNDBITE) (Pashto) NATO TRUCK DRIVER, HABIBULLAH KHAN, SAYING: "Yes we are scared that if the Taliban catch us, they will slaughter us. One of my colleagues was killed by the Taliban and his truck was set on fire. Because we are working for foreigners and helping to transport their supplies, and we're on the same list to be killed." Earlier this month, three of Habibullah's trucks were attacked and burned by the Taliban. Another driver says although the risks are high, there are simply no other jobs available. (SOUNDBITE) (Pashto) TRUCK DRIVER, QAHIR KHAN, SAYING: "Considering the problem in Afghanistan, there is no other job to feed our families, so we accept the risk of death in order to earn some money. We are struggling and putting our lives at risk driving these trucks just for money." To make matters worse, local drivers are often forced to rely on brokers who sell their contracts to smaller firms and pocket the difference - often as much as half the job's worth - making an extremely risky job even more thankless. Travis Brecher, Reuters

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