Pakistan restores Afghan border centers in step forward

Published: December 19, 2011

Pakistan has restored liaison officers at coordination centers on the Afghanistan border. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

KABUL: Pakistan has restored liaison officers at coordination centers on the Afghanistan border, Nato said on Monday, in a slight easing of tensions, after Nato air strikes last month killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers and provoked fury across the country.

But the US-led coalition’s supply lines that run through Pakistan remain closed since the November 26 incident and it is both in the interests of foreign forces as well as Pakistan that the routes be opened sooner rather than later, the alliance said.

Ties between the United States and Pakistan are fraught, with Islamabad blocking the Afghan supply line for one of the longest periods yet. Last week, US lawmakers agreed to freeze $700 million in aid to Pakistan demanding it disrupt the movement of fertilizers used in making homemade bombs, the deadliest killer of foreign troops.

But the top Nato commander in Afghanistan, US General John Allen, had spoken to the Pakistani army chief General Ashfaq Kayani and there were signs of progress over the last few days, Brigadier General Carsten Jacobsen, a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), told reporters.

“We have seen liaison officers, Pakistani officers, return to border coordination centers, General Allen has spoken to General Kayani, so we are moving in the right direction,” he said.

The border control centers were set up to help Nato and Afghan forces and their Pakistani counterparts on the other side of the porous border to coordinate operations against militants and avoid the kind of the incident that occurred last month in which two Pakistan army posts in Mohmand came under Nato fire.

Pakistan said the United States had carried out an unprovoked attack, an accusation rejected by Washington. An investigation has been ordered and Jacobsen declined to go into details of the incident ahead of the results.

But he urged Pakistan to reopen the two supply routes into Afghanistan, which carry just under a third of all cargo for foreign forces fighting in the landlocked nation.

“It is in our interest as well as Pakistan’s interests, for economic reasons that they reopen these routes sooner rather than later,” he said.

Night raids

Jacobsen also defended the use of night raids on Afghan homes to hunt down insurgents, despite yet another call overnight from Afghan President Hamid Karzai to end the practice, deeply hated by most Afghans.

“Night operations remain the safest form of operations conducted to take insurgents off the battlefield,” he said, adding that in 85 percent of such raids not a single shot is fired. The raids have accounted for less than one percent of civilian casualties, he said.

Karzai on Sunday asked Nato not to enter Afghan homes for such operations after a raid in eastern Paktia province in which he said a woman was killed and four people wounded.

Foreign forces fighting in Afghanistan have become more accurate in conducting night-time raids on homes, but they have stepped up the number and scope of the operations so they affect more civilians, a report by the Open Society Foundations and The Liaison Office said in September.

Jacobsen said the way forward was greater involvement of Afghan Special Forces in these raids.

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Reader Comments (27)

  • M omar
    Dec 19, 2011 - 6:23PM

    There is no ghairat left in this nation.sad.

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  • Adeel759
    Dec 19, 2011 - 6:23PM

    This is how this country of 180 million being run, Pakistan restores Liasion Officers, news come from Kabul.Where is ISPR….or Info Ministry

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  • Karan
    Dec 19, 2011 - 6:38PM

    Good to know that Pakistanis have come to their senses.

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  • Shan
    Dec 19, 2011 - 6:57PM

    You guys are our pride..we will never loose hope in our Army InshaAllah..You have always saved our sovereignty..Allah ap logo ko ajar de ga:)

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  • Loyal to Pakistan
    Dec 19, 2011 - 7:19PM

    @Karan:
    Like we need your opinion. This time Pakistan has decided to play on its own terms. NATO supplies are still stopped. No more burgers, fried chicken, pizzas, fuel, hot water, ammunition etc for the ISAF forces during the Afghan winter. Karan, why dont you(India) help NATO out(but how? 98.3% of Indians dont have access to these things themselves).
    INCREDIBLE INDIA

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  • Adil
    Dec 19, 2011 - 7:48PM

    @Shan: Have you commented by just seeing the picture of the army men in the article. hahahahaha May God bless this country

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  • Ejaz
    Dec 19, 2011 - 8:03PM

    @Loyal to Pakistan:
    Bravo and well said. All the propaganda of Indian Media outlets and by the Western Media melts down when you see the state of 98.3% people of Inida; much worsening condition than Pakistani counterparts, I am afraid.

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  • CK
    Dec 19, 2011 - 8:04PM

    How is it Pakistans economic interests to open the tax free supply line? Rules of engagements and all previous agreements have to be re-written.

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  • Taufeeq
    Dec 19, 2011 - 8:08PM

    @Loyal to Pakistan:Why are you getting frustrated at him brother. Your behavior is showing our weakness to our enemies. This action had to happen, we couldnt hold it for much longer..And there is no negotitation on our terms with US especially with this govt. If you want change bring Imran Khan to power

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  • Nadeem Ayub
    Dec 19, 2011 - 8:18PM

    @Karan:
    We are slowly coming to our scenes…just that you seem to have lost yours! USA / NATO has saved $66 billion on road tax levies since the war started, $88 billion in arms (used by the Pakistan Army to fight YOUR war), $10 billion for use of airbases, 35,000 lives (if we didn’t fight for you, these would have been YOUR dead, not ours!) and property loss that run’s in $ billions. In return, Pakistan has received about $12 billion in SO CALLED AID, with a promise of further $6 billion. ENOUGH. From now, NATO / USA will not get a free ride. They will pay about $42 million a month just in transport duty……and for every facility they use. Lets see them pay for what they use, rather then just a small sum as aid…aid my back side!Recommend

  • MALIK WAQAR HAIDER AWAN
    Dec 19, 2011 - 8:20PM

    Pak Army we are with you.

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  • Cautious
    Dec 19, 2011 - 8:22PM

    Not sure how this benefits NATO or why NATO should be grateful? Your border outposts have never been effective at stopping Taliban from crossing the border.

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  • FactCheck
    Dec 19, 2011 - 8:24PM

    Umm, $700 million has its power. Capitulation has begun as we expected. Not releasing a penny until you go after the terrorists and show you are serious. Not penny releasing until you reign in the Haqqani’s and their activities inside Afghanistan.

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  • Tariq Qureshi
    Dec 19, 2011 - 10:10PM

    NATO has to make sure that people do not enter or leave Afghanistan. It is NOT Pakistan’s responsibility. NATO can deploy 500,000 mene along Afghanistan border to stop the movement, and you can take whatever action but only in Afghanistan. If Pakistan need to pick up people who enter their territory illegally they will. See NATO came to Afghanistan as a occupation force. Occupations forces are always unwelcome and locals fight and that is exactly what is happening. Imagine if French forces attack UK and occupy UK. Will British fight them or not?

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  • Shyam
    Dec 19, 2011 - 10:59PM

    @Loyal to Pakistan

    98.3% of Indians dont have access to these things themselves.

    Your textbooks sure provide you with gems of wisdom my man!

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  • Loyal to Pakistan
    Dec 19, 2011 - 11:05PM

    @Taufeeq:
    I am already a member of PTI.

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  • You Said It
    Dec 19, 2011 - 11:41PM

    Strategic victory — Pakistani soldiers have recaptured the Afghan border coordination centers! Yay!!!

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  • Roflcopter
    Dec 19, 2011 - 11:46PM

    I’m not sure how this is a “step forward” when the army said they were withdrawing the officers for consultations only and they will return to their posts soon….and that’s exactly what has happened.

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  • You Said It
    Dec 20, 2011 - 12:54AM

    To all those commenting on the supply lines, and how US gets a free ride: it doesn’t. The US pays $6000 for each container for delivery from Karachi to Afghanistan. The amounts are documented in Congressional archives and in WSJ reports. Hence, Gen Allen’s statement that this makes economic sense for Pakistan.

    But, people are right in that much of this money doesn’t make it into the coffers of the Pakistani government. It goes elsewhere. So if the transit agreements are renegotiated — the Pak govt’s share may increase, but it won’t materially change what the US govt pays.

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  • Javed
    Dec 20, 2011 - 1:05AM

    @Nadeem Ayub:
    The grand figures you are quoting would make us a donor country rather than a country subsisting on aid.

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  • Pir Monafiq Shah
    Dec 20, 2011 - 1:28AM

    Pak establishment is addicted to US dollars……….after getting a better lollipop, more dollars, everything will be hunkidori……………the civilians are stupid talkers………

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  • MarkH
    Dec 20, 2011 - 2:08AM

    @Loyal to Pakistan:
    I guess you missed the part that Pakistan has never been the route of 100% of the supplies. The ones that act big, bad and self-important when something well known enough to be considered nearly common knowledge automatically shows the statement’s lack of value are made an embarrassment to your own country”s image while simultaneously acting like you care about it.

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  • Bilal
    Dec 20, 2011 - 5:05AM

    no point of talking about gharit when afghan and indian played main role in this incident.

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  • salim
    Dec 20, 2011 - 9:39AM

    government of khyber pakhtunkhwa should take action against shamma
    cinema for the cradibility and honor of awami national party

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  • antanu
    Dec 20, 2011 - 6:45PM

    @Shyam:
    He is right dear….absolutely on spot.Dont pretend as if you dont know.Ahluwalia has suggested 50% of indian population to live on Rs.26/-per day. Well for this HUGE amount…who could afford Burgers, Pizzas…think of it…and accept the truth. We are no better than Pakis when it comes to economic and living standard of common people.

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  • Dec 20, 2011 - 9:32PM

    Dear M Omar:

    Pakistan restoring liaison officers at coordination centers should be looked at as a step forward in achieving our common objectives. We understand that emotions are still running high and this decision does not sit well with those still carrying the anger over the Salala incident. But it does show Pakistan’s commitment to stabilizing the region. At the same time, it is still too early to say that all is well and everything is forgotten, but it certainly gives hope in terms of continuing our common mission. The seriousness of the situation requires us to think clearly and consider all consequences associated with our decisions. The third party in the form of terrorists is not waiting for us to regroup and in fact they are aggressively orchestrating acts of terror. So before we succumb to anger, we should remind ourselves that our situation has left the door open for their terrorist activities and how that impacts the whole region, and that obviously includes Pakistan.

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  • Hu Jintao
    Dec 21, 2011 - 2:02PM

    @Loyal to Pakistan:
    You nailed it brother!

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