Pakistan to reopen supply routes for US-led forces in Afghanistan
Wed Jul 4, 2012 1:37AM
Pakistan decides to reopen key border crossings to US-led forces in Afghanistan. Islamabad made the decision after Washington apologized for last year's cross-border raid that killed some two dozen Pakistani soldiers. The announcement may be an end to a 7-month-long diplomatic row between the two countries.Pakistan top civil and military leadership appears to finally succumb to the US pressure after it announced the lifting of seven-month old ban on supplies for US-led forces in Afghanistan. Islamabad shut down the vital land routes in November last year in retaliation to US air strikes on Pakistan check posts killing 24 soldiers. The decision to reopen supply lines was taken at a high-level meeting of the country’s defense committee of the cabinet in the capital Islamabad. However, the government has decided not to allow lethal supplies pass through the country. The continued blockade of key border crossings has cost the US billions of dollars as it was compelled to use alternative means to keep the shipments going. Experts believe that Pakistan should have imposed additional transit fee on trucks carrying goods for US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan. In recent weeks, the Obama Administration has exerted intense pressure on Pakistan to lift the ban. Pakistan has until now resisted the US demand saying supply lines would be reopened only after Washington offers an unconditional apology. Hours before the top Pakistani leadership gathered in the capital, US Secretary of State Hiliary Clinton said ‘sorry’ for the last year’s attack but stopped short of offering outright apology. The late night announcement by Pakistan to resume cooperation with the United States is likely to invite strong public backlash, as majority of the people in the country have long been calling on the government to pullout of the US-led so-called war on terror.