Pakistan, US agree on joint investigation

Military and diplomatic sources confirm high-level contact, Pakistan will soon reopen Torkham border for NATO supplies

Kamran Yousaf October 02, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad and Washington emerged on Friday from what could have otherwise been a diplomatic “breakdown” over Nato’s repeated intrusions into Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas after senior military officials from both sides manoeuvred to salvage the situation.

The top US commander in Afghanistan General David Petraeus and Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani spoke over the phone and agreed to carry out a joint  investigation into the recent incidents of Pakistan’s air space violations by Nato helicopter gunships, The Express Tribune has learnt. Military and diplomatic sources confirmed the high-level contact as a result of which Pakistan would soon reopen the Torkham border for supplies to Nato forces stationed in Afghanistan.

Gen Petraeus, who is also Nato/Isaf chief, assured Gen Kayani that they would respect Pakistan’s sovereignty. Sources say that a high-level US military delegation is also due in Islamabad over the weekend to discuss the matter.

A senior military official told The Express Tribune that the situation has now been brought under control. “It is not an alarming situation anymore,” said the military official, who requested not to be named. He also confirmed that after firm US assurances, supplies to Nato forces would be resumed soon.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Brussels Jalil Abbas Jilani met the deputy secretary of the Nato to protest the airspace violations.

A Foreign Office statement said Ambassador Jilani condemned the intrusions and warned that such incidents would create serious misgivings between the two sides. “It will undermine the war on terror,” he added. The statement said the Nato deputy secretary general offered regrets and termed the incidents as “most unfortunate”.

He assured that Nato considers Pakistan as an important partner and will carry out a detailed assessment of the incident so as to ensure that such incidents are not repeated.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2010.


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