Elements other than apology keeping GLOCs closed: Panetta

Secy Defense says US spending $100 million per month on supplying through NDN. US has expressed regret over Salala.


Huma Imtiaz June 13, 2012

WASHINGTON: As a US Senate subcommittee heard from top American generals and members of the defense setup over the resumption of Nato supply routes and a possible US apology to Pakistan over the November check post attack, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said that the administration has already expressed regret over the incident, however there were other elements at play which prevented the supply route from being reopened.

"The problem is that at this point that they're asking not just for that (apology) but other elements that have to be resolved," Panetta told the US Senate Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the FY2013 Budget Request for the Defense Department.

When pushed by the committee that Pakistan wanted a high level apology from the civilian US administration, Panetta said that the US has already expressed regret for the Salala incident, but there were other issues, currently being negotiated with Pakistan, which would determine reopening of the Nato supply routes.

Closed routes costs US $100million a month

Asked to justify spendings and an increase listed in the defense budget, Panetta said that the closed Ground Lines of Communications (GLOCs) through Pakistan were costing the US as much as $100 million a month to maintain supplies on alternate routes.

The Secretary said that it was ‘very expensive’ to use the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) to both provide supplies to US forces there and for the logistical support for withdrawal efforts.

US apology key to reopening GLOCs

As Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey and Panetta testified before the Senate subcommittee on Appropriations for Defense, Senator Dianne Feinstein said that mistakes had been made on both the US and Pakistan side when Nato helicopters attacked the Salala border check post, killing 24 soldiers as a result.

During the hearing, Senator Feinstein said that based on her discussion with ISAF Commander General John Allen, it was clear that both sides had made mistakes during the incident. She said it was her information that Pakistan, above all, wanted a civilian announcement that mistakes were made on the US side and that they would lower the cost in return for an apology.

"The national security of this country is best served if we have a positive relationship with Pakistan", Feinstein said, adding added that with the appointment of a new ISI head and other factors, "this might be a new opportunity to do that."

Senator Feinstein asked why there can't be a statement on the matter of mistakes made by the US.

Panetta countered that it's not so simple. "That isn't the only issue."

In response to a question on whether military assistance to Pakistan should be cut, Secretary Panetta said, "I'd be very careful about shutting down aid to Pakistan. I'd look at conditions of what we want them to do."

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COMMENTS (35)

Taurus | 8 years ago | Reply

US aid is a myth. Hardly anything came in from KL and even what is already owed, i.e. Coalition Support Fund. The americans are in a habit of announcing huge aid funds. They then use this announcement as bargaing tool. Most of the funds are expended on their own operaters, executives and field workers. The budget never allows more than 25% to be actually applied on a given project. If there is any evidence of US aid in development I and infrastructure, I would like to see someone point it out. Please dont talk of the hand pumps and toilets that they have been established in villages. As for the NATO Routes, I have a message for the US, do what you can and do your best, we are tired of your threats.

Nazir Ahmed | 8 years ago | Reply

, “I’d be very careful about shutting down aid to Pakistan. I’d look at conditions of what we want them to do.”

It is high time we should stop doing what they want us to do for some dollars. We should get out of this war imposed on us by the US administration, working for the Wall Street Establishment's global interests. The Americans themselves are adversely affected as evident from the demonstrations. Pakistan had nothing to do with 9/11 nor was any individual from Pakistan involved. US occupied Afghanistan and pushed so called Al-Qaida people into Pakistan to pursue them violating our air space and territorial integrity. After about ten years we find that Pakistan remains target in this whole venture.

Our economic conditions have deteriorated because we depend on US aid. These will not improve if we do not take measures stop loot by our US appointed rulers. We have enough resources to sustain us if we live within our own means. Making vigorous efforts to improve relations with neighbors Iran, Afghanistan, India and the regional powers including Russia will save us from US threats and blackmail.

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