NATO Route to Afghanistan likely to be reopened.
JNN Jan.21st 2012. – Pakistan expects to re-open supply routes to NATO forces in Afghanistan, halted after a NATO cross-border air attack killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November, but will impose tariffs, a senior security official told Reuters on Thursday.
The move suggests tensions with the United States and NATO have eased, but greater cooperation was needed to fight militancy in the border region which U.S. President Barack Obama has called the world’s most dangerous place.
The official said the fees were designed to express continued anger over the November 26 attack and raise funds for the state to fight homegrown Taliban militants blamed for many of the suicide bombings across the country.
“The tariffs will cover everything from the port to security to roads which, after all, belong to Pakistan.” the security official, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters.
No date was given for reopening the supply routes. Pakistan’s trade ministry was working out details of the tariffs, said the official.
A senior Obama administration official said there was no official word from Pakistan and that the U.S. position on the issue of supply routes had not changed.
The NATO attack plunged relations between troubled allies Pakistan and the United States to their lowest point in years.
Ties had already been severely strained by a secret raid by U.S. special forces that killed Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil in May last year. This embarrassed the military, which has ruled the country for over half of Pakistan’s 64-year history and sets security and foreign policy.
Asked if the re-opening was a sign that the crisis in relations could be tackled, the official said there was some way to go before normalcy was possible.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told Reuters in an interview on Thursday that relations between Islamabad and Washington were currently on hold.
“I would say they are conveniently on hold until we start re-engaging,” Khar said.
The two land routes to Afghanistan through Pakistan account for just under a third of all cargo that the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) ships into Afghanistan.