After long closure, NATO supplies enter Afghanistan from Pakistan

Published: July 5, 2012
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In this photograph taken on May 20, 2012, trucks journey along a roadway at Torkham close to the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

In this photograph taken on May 20, 2012, trucks journey along a roadway at Torkham close to the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: A pair of trucks carrying NATO supplies crossed into Afghanistan on Thursday, Pakistani customs officials said, the first time in more than seven months that Pakistan has allowed Western nations to use its roads to supply troops in Afghanistan.

Customs officials said the container trucks had passed through the Chaman border crossing into southern Afghanistan, a milestone following a deal this week with the United States ending the impasse triggered by the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers by US aircraft last November.

“We received orders yesterday to allow NATO supply trucks through, but security officials hadn’t received their instructions,” said Imran Raza, a customs official.

“They received their orders today, and now two trucks have crossed the border into Afghanistan.”

The resumption of NATO transit into Afghanistan came two days after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, yielding to Pakistani demands, told Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar the United States was sorry for the deaths last November.

In response to the killing of the soldiers in a border post, a furious Islamabad shut the supply routes.

For months, the Obama administration refused Pakistani demands to offer an apology for what NATO said was a regrettable accident.

The closure forced NATO countries to bring in supplies into landlocked Afghanistan through an alternate route to the north, a cumbersome process that cost 2-1/2 times as much as shipping them to and then across Pakistan.

NATO commanders said the route closure did not affect operations in Afghanistan, where foreign troops battle the Taliban more than 10 years after the war began. But they acknowledged it could have become more problematic once NATO nations begin to withdraw in earnest ahead an end-2014 timeline for removing most foreign troops.

The deal struck this week on the routes could go a long way to easing tension between the two countries.

While Pakistan got the apology it wanted for the November border killings, the government agreed to drop demands to raise fees on supply trucks going into Afghanistan.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Jpy
    Jul 5, 2012 - 12:42PM

    So the back to square one now

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  • Raza Khan
    Jul 5, 2012 - 2:32PM

    Thank God that the sanity prevailed but after all it was only about money!

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  • Jeffmahagaonvi
    Jul 5, 2012 - 2:49PM

    It is late but right decision. We want peace not war. We want good relation to every country.
    Live with love-Let democracy work

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  • Wolfie_Loves_kulfi
    Jul 5, 2012 - 4:49PM

    america wins they have 14 trillion dollar annual GDP

    and supply 80 % of worlds food which can make up their national debt zero

    this shows Money always wins im just wondering

    how much more money the goverment took apart from 250 dollars per NATO truck

    to understand this obvious truth :( everyone was made fool here in name of nationalism

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  • munnabhai
    Jul 5, 2012 - 8:00PM

    And the victory goes to the US.

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  • Cautious
    Jul 5, 2012 - 9:38PM

    This is just clearing out stuff that was stuck in the distribution pipeline when the supply line was closed. It will be interesting to see how much of the NATO supplies are re-routed back to Pakistan – my bet is that the volume will never approach it’s former levels – time will tell.

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  • A.S.Ahamed Farooq
    Jul 5, 2012 - 9:53PM

    Barak Obama has eventually yielded to Pakistan’s demand for an apology for the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers at a check point within Pakistani territory.Just regretting the killing of Pakistani soldiers by American forces is not enough.However big America may be,it has to apologize for the crime committed by killing Pakistani soldiers.It arrogantly refusing to apologize to Pakistan was reprehensible..Pakistan getting the United States to cave into its demand is noteworthy.

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  • bangash
    Jul 6, 2012 - 1:31AM

    @A.S.Ahamed Farooq

    An eight month blockade for just a “sorry” seems a foolish exercise. Pakistan has gained nothing from it.

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  • A.S.Ahamed Farooq
    Jul 6, 2012 - 9:08PM

    @bangash: Getting arrogant United States to say sorry and thereby cave in to Pakistan’s demand, especially at the American election time, is an accomplishment.Pakistan may not have gained monetarily but it has scored morally and diplomatically.Pakistan could not go beyond this because of its dependence on American aid.

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  • DavidL
    Jul 7, 2012 - 12:41AM

    We lost and it hurts a lot.These politicians can sell themselves for money.

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Jul 7, 2012 - 10:31AM

    The greatest ever live example of effrontery and meanness set by the shameless Pakistani civil and military leadership.

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