NATO supply routes: Pakistan, US to push for a deal this week

Published: June 4, 2012
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Reopening of Nato supply route is very much a possibility in the upcoming days. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

Reopening of Nato supply route is very much a possibility in the upcoming days. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the United States will be pushing for a much-talked about agreement this week on the reopening of vital supply routes for US-led foreign forces fighting a Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

Currently, talks are deadlocked over taxes and additional transit fee Islamabad is demanding for each truckload of Nato supplies crossing its border into Afghanistan. Washington, however, thinks Pakistan’s demand is not pragmatic and that it will not be ‘price gouged’.

In a latest effort to break the impasse, a senior US official is travelling to Islamabad this week for negotiations with Pakistani authorities, according to a Foreign Office official. US Assistant Defence Secretary Peter Levoy will lead an American delegation at talks with Pakistani officials.

The US deputy ambassador in Islamabad, Richard Hoagland, has been heading the American side at discussions with Pakistani officials for the past several weeks on the reopening of Nato supply routes.

Being a senior official from Washington, Levoy would have the mandate to take a decision on the contentious issue of taxation.

Assistant Defence Secretary Levoy, who looks after Asia and Pacific Security Affairs at the Pentagon, had also spoken to Pakistani officials on this matter in Islamabad back in April – obviously with no success.

But officials from both sides are expecting a ‘tangible progress’ in the upcoming talks to put their troubled partnership back on track.

The two sides are believed to be working on proposals to strike the middle ground on the additional transit fee.

Islamabad seeks to charge $5000 for each Nato container but Washington considers the amount too high.

During Levoy’s tour, diplomatic sources said, the two sides may reach a compromised agreement.

Sources said that Levoy was also expected to raise with his Pakistani counterparts the contentious issue of Dr Shakil Afridi, the doctor who is believed to have helped CIA hunt down slain al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden last year.

Dr Afridi was sentenced to 33 years in jail by a deputy administrator of Khyber Agency using his special judicial powers that he enjoys under the Frontier Crimes Regulations – the British-era draconian laws.

Officials of President Barack Obama’s administration and US Congressmen have criticised Dr Afridi’s sentence and called upon Islamabad to release the doctor forthwith.

(Read: Nato supply route and sanctions)

Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • ayesha_khan
    Jun 4, 2012 - 5:17AM

    Nowhere in this article is there any reference to the much vaunted US apology or stopping drones because they violate Pakistani sovereignty. So then it was just about money – right?

    For a country that has regularly rented its army and its land for money, it is funny that the worst thing they can accuse Inidans of is being “Hindu Baniya’.

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  • Blithe
    Jun 4, 2012 - 5:46AM

    Where is the apology????

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  • HollyCow
    Jun 4, 2012 - 5:48AM

    the two sides may reach a compromised
    agreement

    Oh English you’re such a difficult language. The difference between a “compromise” and something “compromised” is lost on ET.

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  • Adeel759
    Jun 4, 2012 - 6:44AM

    $2000 is a fair price. Pakistan should collect held up CSF and future transit fee in advance or at least on weekly basis, so later Pak don’t cry over spilt milk. Most of PakMil’s military hardware came from US Assistance and now in their time of need Pak wants to ‘gouge’ the transit price (I mean c’mon, till 2009 you didn’t charge them a single penny), it is ‘Price Gouging’ as CIA Dir. Leon Panneta rightly put.

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  • OmarSharif
    Jun 4, 2012 - 7:51AM

    @HollyCow:

    Maybe they mean that the agreement was compromised ;-)
    No apologies, just money.

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  • Dr Vikas
    Jun 4, 2012 - 10:53AM

    @Adeel759:
    24 soldiers killed by Nato.
    Pak Govt Response – Govt asks for increased demand for Containers Route- USD 5000.

    Kargil operation: Pakistani soldiers killed during wipe out operation of Indian Army.
    Pak Govt Response – Refuses to accept soldiers bodies saying that they were mujahiddin.

    Conclusion: Pakistani soldiers fighting for the nation but Nation does’nt respect them.

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  • antanu
    Jun 4, 2012 - 11:45AM

    <p>@Adeel759:
    Who are we to decide what is reasonable. And of purse US aid was not free my dear.Theyhave taken more than the price.Dont be biased.</p>Recommend

  • Charles Smyth
    Jun 4, 2012 - 3:27PM

    Some have wondered where the apology is for killing 24 Pakistani soldiers of fortune, who suffered the consequences of their complicity in the killing of NATO soldiers and/or Afghan civilians. There is never going to be any apology. So suck it in, and cope.

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  • Malik Hamza
    Jun 6, 2012 - 12:10AM

    The $5000 is not a random price , the reason this figure is demanded by Pakistan becuase our roads have been destroyed and will cost many billions to make roads.

    We need an apology and the Indians need to get a big country India not to poke their noses in our business becuase yoir noses will be broken.

    We can survive the sanctions this wont be the first time that sanctions will be put on Pakistan. We have had many sanctions put on Pakistan we can survive as this will bring the nation together !

    Remember USA need Pakistan , Pakistan doesnt need the USA.
    the people who say that we need usa need to have a deep look at the history, USA has only used us and has given us some billions which i say is pityu because we have lost TRILLIONS and innocent people fighting for USA. Its time they get a grip and we get firm with our word and show them our real worth.

    Shame to these corrupt and begrat people at the top. your an embrassement to the nation and mankind.

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  • Charles Smyth
    Jun 6, 2012 - 3:32AM

    @Malik Hamza: Pakistan’s roads, like everywhere else’s roads, are always in a state of disrepair, and in need of constant maintenance. The traffic on Pakistan’s roads is not exclusively NATO and/or US traffic. Therefore, the fee being demanded, for a standard container, which can weigh no more than any Pakistani container, is intentionally punitive within the context of a line of unadulterated opportunism. If Pakistan’s elite really wants to run the experiment to discover how much Pakistan does not need the US and/or Europe, the US and/or Europe will be happy to immediately terminate all student and emigration visas.

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  • Sandip
    Jun 7, 2012 - 3:39AM

    @Malik Hamza: What’s your worth? $5000 per container? Cmon. Don’t sell your country so cheap.

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Jun 7, 2012 - 9:38AM

    NATO’s chief says restoration the NATO’s supply routes are not important for our surgical operations in Afghanistan and is only important to withdraw US-led NATO’s forces from Afghanistan then why are they crying,begging and pushing for NATO’s supply routes’ restoration from Pakistan whereas the most especially importantly the agreement has been done between 3 Central Asian states and NATO’s officials only for non-lethal items’ supply?Here the most important question rises,id est,thru Pakistan war-related accessories and equipments and thru 3 Central Asian states only non-lethal transition.Why???????
    No shamefaced formal apology
    No confession of intentionally and wittingly attacks on Salala check post
    No assurance of stopping drone attacks
    But restore blocked NATO’s supply routes
    Why???????

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