News / Asia

Pakistan Signals NATO Supply Routes Could Be Reopened

Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar (file photo).
Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar (file photo).
Ayaz Gul
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan says talks with the United States on reopening supply lines for coalition troops in Afghanistan are progressing well, indicating the country might lift the nearly six-month ban ahead of next week’s NATO conference on Afghanistan's future.  

Pakistan closed the NATO supply lines in retaliation for a cross-border U.S. airstrike that mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last November.
 
The incident led to the suspension of already tense ties between Islamabad and Washington as well as Pakistan’s counter-insurgency cooperation with international forces in Afghanistan.
 
Since Pakistan’s parliament approved new terms of engagement last month, U.S. officials have been in Islamabad holding intense negotiations with their Pakistani counterparts to restore ties, including the reopening of NATO supply lines.
 
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told reporters in Islamabad Monday the two sides are engaged in a “positive atmosphere” of dialogue.  But she dismissed suggestions Pakistan is undermining the anti-terror campaign in Afghanistan by not reopening its border for NATO convoys.
 
"They stopped in the first place because 24 of our soldiers were martyred in what seemed to be something which we could not justify in terms of it being a reaction. So, I think we need a closure on that and move on. It was important to make a point. Pakistan has made the point and we now need to move on and go into a positive zone of trying to conduct our relations [with the U.S.]," said Khar.
 
The Pakistani government demanded a U.S. apology for the deadly cross-border attack and an immediate end to U.S. drone attacks inside Pakistan targeting al-Qaida and Taliban-linked militants.  On the U.S. side, officials are unhappy over Islamabad’s reluctance to mobilize troops against militants who launch attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan.
 
The United States has so far refused to accept Pakistan's demands.  Talks have also faced difficulties because Islamabad wants to impose heavy taxes on future convoys carrying supplies for international forces in Afghanistan.  American diplomatic sources say the charges are too high.
 
Pakistan's foreign minister justified the demands, saying her country has suffered more than any other nation in the fight against terrorism, both in economic and human losses.
 
"For 12 years Pakistan has allowed NATO supply routes to function through Pakistan’s territory," said  Khar. For ten out of those years we did not charge a single penny. It has been a huge cost to our infrastructure. It has had a cost for our law and order. All of this we have done because we want to be facilitator and an enabler to the rest of the world as it is operating about 42 countries inside Afghanistan.”
 
Pakistan's military and civilian leadership is to meet Tuesday to take up the issue of reopening NATO supply routes.

A reopening could pave the way for Pakistan to attend a two-day NATO summit in Chicago, starting on May 20, that will focus on the future of Afghanistan once international combat troops leave in 2014.  Reopening the supply lines could also free up more than a billion dollars in U.S. military aid that was withheld last year.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid