Reopening NATO supply lines: US ready to offer more compensation

Published: March 31, 2012

According to the National Highway Authority (NHA), Nato containers use the N-5 National Highway from Karachi to Torkham and N-25 from Karachi to Chaman, when supplying goods to forces stationed in Afghanistan. NHA estimates put the damage caused to the country’s infrastructure by Nato trucks at close to Rs120 billion. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The United States has agreed to pay compensation and additional taxes on Nato supplies passing through Pakistan in a move that indicates Washington’s eagerness to end the blockade of the vital supply line for coalition troops stationed in Afghanistan.

Washington conveyed its willingness to accept Islamabad’s demand at recent talks between the civil and military leadership of the two countries, confirmed Pakistani and American officials, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

An American diplomat familiar with the development disclosed that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s recent interaction with US President Barak Obama at the Seoul summit, and talks between the top military commanders of the two countries produced positive results on key issues.

“The meetings were extremely productive and clearly the two sides now have a better understanding of each other’s views,” the diplomat said, adding that the US was ready to pay compensation for the damage caused to infrastructure in the country by Nato containers and also an additional transit fee that Pakistan was seeking to impose on goods.

According to the National Highway Authority (NHA), Nato containers use the N-5 National Highway from Karachi to Torkham and N-25 from Karachi to Chaman, when supplying goods to forces stationed in Afghanistan. NHA estimates put the damage caused to the country’s infrastructure by Nato trucks at close to Rs120 billion.

An all-party and bicameral panel, which prepared recommendations to reset ties with the US, has asked the government to seek funds from Washington as compensation for the repair and maintenance of damaged infrastructure.

“Even if we pay compensation and additional taxes, Pakistan still is the cheapest and most viable option for Nato supplies,” said an American official.

Washington is keen to get the supplies moving again because it is much more expensive to ship goods by an alternative route that runs through Central Asia. The supply line through Pakistan is also vital for the US when it pulls out equipment from Afghanistan as its combat troops are due to withdraw from the country by the end of 2014.

Deadlock persists on drones

While there has been progress on the issue of Nato supplies, the two sides have hit an impasse on drone strikes inside the country’s tribal belt. The US, though, has shown willingness to discuss a new framework for the use of Predator strikes but ruled out the possibility of abandoning the CIA-led campaign.

“There is a zero-tolerance on drones, there is not even a remote possibility that the Obama administration will review this policy,” said another American official.

He revealed that Pakistan had offered to use precision guided F-16s as an alternative to the drone attacks to take out ‘high value’ targets in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

It is also the first time that the civil and military leadership is even privately asking the US to halt its drone campaign, said a Pakistan official.

In the past, the government and the military establishment has been accused of having a dual policy on drones as they have publicly condemned the strikes but believed to have privately condoned them.

(Read: Where are Pak-US ties headed?)

Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2012.

Reader Comments (32)

  • anony
    Mar 31, 2012 - 6:49AM

    what sorcery is this?

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  • Babloo
    Mar 31, 2012 - 7:31AM

    Pakistan should start collecting transit fees, as soon as possible, because USA is ending Afghan presence by 2014 and after that they will have very little use of the nuisance that they are dealing with now.

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  • Na
    Mar 31, 2012 - 9:30AM

    So for Pakistan is all about money.

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  • Ansari
    Mar 31, 2012 - 10:32AM

    So, all those discussions that if we don’t allow USA, they gonna bomb us are gone!. I remember how forcefully intellectual bankrupts, mostly liberal extremists were shouting at the top of the lungs that if we don’t deal with US at their own terms, we will be thrown back to stone age. Well, looking at today’s conditions, we are in stone age not by refusing USA, but by alligning with her. I don’t know how much blood these liberal extremists want to understand that kicking USA out is the only way to restore peace in Pakistan. O my Liberal extremists, please think with your own mind, please see with your own eyes, Pakistan per rehem karo yar!

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  • news from india
    Mar 31, 2012 - 10:46AM

    A close aide of Hakimullah told rediff.com that the TTP would never enter into any peace talks with the government, as he is under the influence of Salafi ideology which wants non-stop jihad in the region for establishment of a Islamic Shariah.

    “Hakimullah is in no mood to have a patch up with the Pakistani government; he wants to continue the struggle until the Taliban’s demands are fulfilled. The demands include an end to drone strikes, military operations, release of all Taliban currently lodged in different jails and the imposition of Islamic rules,” the source said.

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  • Ahsan
    Mar 31, 2012 - 10:47AM

    So 2 more years and hundreds of looted NATO trucks inside pakistan and imagine that

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  • Rakesh
    Mar 31, 2012 - 10:49AM

    @Na:
    *So for Pakistan is all about money. *

    So is India & United States. Forgot the transit agreements?

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  • ali
    Mar 31, 2012 - 11:10AM

    @Ansari

    So 300 drone strikes are not enough for you? Or do you want US to bomb major cities? Your delusions of granduer are amazing.

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  • Bravo
    Mar 31, 2012 - 12:09PM

    I agree with Ansari. Even being allies, we are being struck with drones. This all happened to us because of the most coward Pakistani of all times, Gen Pervaiz Musharraf.

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  • ProudPakistani
    Mar 31, 2012 - 12:22PM

    @ali…Those drone attacks were carried out when we were part of that evil war….Get your facts right & start to live with dignity & bravery not slavery…

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  • waleed
    Mar 31, 2012 - 1:08PM

    collect enough money to build up a border fence in Pak-Afghan region. Stop Afghanis commuting to Pakistan. Don’t want anymore Afghans in Pakistan.
    Things needed to be done:
    -Computerize the system (the whole infrastructure; will cost alot of starting money but will get through this phase as every other country did)
    -Corruption nabbing agency should be de-politicized completely. And laws pertaining to hang corrupt leaders should be implemented.
    -De-politicize the police, education, and other factions of the Pakistan
    -Limit Army’s practice in the politics
    Turkey and Canada are great example altogether for a nation to be.

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  • ali
    Mar 31, 2012 - 1:23PM

    @ProudPakistani

    Come out of the state of denial. Pakistan has no control over its territory. And it does not have the capacity to regain it. Therefore US conducts drone strikes. What slavery? We have no control over own territory. We can’t deal with a bunch of rag tag mullahs, but we will fight US! Do you know we lost all 4 wars against India? To get out of the war, we will have to expel Taliban from FATA and Baluchistan, which we can’t. So drones will continue.

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  • Shahid
    Mar 31, 2012 - 1:31PM

    @Na:
    Maybe, but alternate option is for India to offer all their services for free. Why not. What is holding india back. Do it…..;

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  • Sonya
    Mar 31, 2012 - 2:03PM

    Roads repair for killed soldiers and civilians…. Weakest decisions by Kiyani and Gillani

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  • Mar 31, 2012 - 2:16PM

    Shut the air corridor too

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  • true_blue_pakistani
    Mar 31, 2012 - 2:18PM

    Take the compensation money and open the route for NATO supplies. Why fuss all about? We must acknowledge America super power and can’t afford to fight them.

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  • RAAF
    Mar 31, 2012 - 2:22PM

    Ok even if it’s all about money then where is it all going? That’s what we need to focus on, they are paying us to bomb Afghanistan fine fine fine but the money they are giving us is what we can’t see being put on our nation! Don’t tell me if our security and defence is strong cause it is just not.

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  • Na
    Mar 31, 2012 - 2:40PM

    @Rakesh:
    So why this entire charade? Is this how to want the world to see you doing business?

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  • IFTIKHAR-UR-REHMAN
    Mar 31, 2012 - 2:42PM

    If you can’t get them to agree to pay transit fee then tell them(USA) to build a road / highway from Karachi to Torkham and Chamman of INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS and maintain it also till such time they move their containers.

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  • Mar 31, 2012 - 3:20PM

    @news from india: if Indian consulates along with pak afghan border stop funding to TTP, soon Hakim Ullah will be saying otherwise n ll be ready to abandon so called jihad.

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  • Wonderful
    Mar 31, 2012 - 3:37PM

    @ABC:
    In January, a Minister told NA that he will provide proof of India’s involvement. Then this month, ISI, under oath told the SC of India’s involvement. The judges asked them to provide proof. No one has given any proof. It will be treason of you for withholding this vital information. I suggest you giving it to the authorities immediately and would also like you to post it on ET.

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  • Rizwan
    Mar 31, 2012 - 3:54PM

    @Wonderful:
    Your 5 indian consulates along the Pak-Afghanistan border are the biggest proof! Who else do you think is giving weapons to TTP?

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  • Wonderful
    Mar 31, 2012 - 4:34PM

    @Rizwan:
    If that is the case, let ISI give this to SC and let them decide if that is proof enough. I hope you have faith in your judiciary.

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  • Tango
    Mar 31, 2012 - 5:20PM

    After the apology, and complete end to drones, it could be negotiated for following benefits:
    Apart from fixing the damaged roads, the railway cargo transport system could be revived with this money, doubling railway track, additional engines and carriages, independent power source for railway.

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  • ProudPakistani
    Mar 31, 2012 - 5:25PM

    @ali…Oh C’mon if Pakistan has no control over its own territory & can’t fight against militancy then what was Swat Operation?? Peace has been brought back to Swat without a single drone attack…& One more thing were never lost 4 wars…We still celebrate 6th September as defense day when we successfully defended our dear homeland…1948 we conquered much of Kashmir without a proper army & during Kargil Indian Generals themselves have accepted that they lost the war…
    Every Pakistani can’t b fooled by Western & Indian propagandas(we know such a sensational media our neighbours have got)
    Even U.S.A is ready to give us more compensations to regain our help because they know our importance & you are saying we can’t win without them…Its they who can’t win without us…

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  • Wonderful
    Mar 31, 2012 - 7:29PM

    @ProudPakistani:
    You forgot to add that you also landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong was a Pakistani.

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  • Diogenes
    Mar 31, 2012 - 9:14PM

    Pakistan and India have the same number of consulates in Afghanistan and in the same cities. Pakistan has 4 and India has 4. They are in Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Jalalabad and Kandahar. Kandahar and Jalalabad are close to the Pakistani border. Herat is on the Turkmenistan/Iran border side and Mazar-i-Sharif is on the Uzbekistan border.

    List of Pakistani Consulates: http://www.mofa.gov.pk/afghanistan/
    List of Indian Consulates: http://www.mea.gov.in/mystart.php?id=87011

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  • Ali
    Mar 31, 2012 - 11:54PM

    What the…

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  • MarkH
    Apr 1, 2012 - 2:05AM

    @Ansari:
    Only a fool would see Pakistan as having actually aligned with the US. There’s more to war than shipping supplies and talk.

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  • Parvez Amin
    Apr 1, 2012 - 5:54AM

    No passage under any circumstances. US must leave this area. We can take care of ourselves.

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    Apr 1, 2012 - 9:40AM

    @Na:
    Who is not for money,you know Americans, why they are in Afghanistan?they are there to get hold of trillions of $ natural energy/mineral resources.Search for Osama was a cover story darling.

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  • huzaifa
    Apr 1, 2012 - 1:59PM

    The drama has been turned into a soup, the director and producer (USA) thought that it became too obvious to all that NOORA KUSHTI was going on. Now it has been decided that a real agitation sort of sequel in which some real people( ordinary men) will give sacrifice will be aired and then the same old decision will be taken. Wait for the DRAMA to be AIRED…….. very soon in all cities of Pakistan!!!!!!.

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