Pakistan reopens Nato supply lines after Clinton's apology
Routes to Afghanistan can be used again after US statement on killing of 24 soldiers in air strike
Known for his commentary on international relations and US politics, Rupert Cornwell also contributes obituaries and occasionally even a column for the sports pages. With The Independent since its launch in 1986, he was the paper's first Moscow correspondent - covering the collapse of the Soviet Union – during which time he won two British Press Awards. Previously a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and Reuters, he has also been a diplomatic correspondent, leader writer and columnist, and has served as Washington bureau editor. In 1983 he published God's Banker, about Roberto Calvi, the Italian banker found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge.
Wednesday 04 July 2012
The desperately strained ties between Pakistan and the US eased yesterday as the Islamabad government agreed to re-open a critical Nato supply line to Afghanistan after Washington apologized for killing 24 of its soldiers in an airstrike last November near the Afghan border.
The deal was finalised in a phone call from Hillary Clinton to her Pakistani opposite number Hina Rabbani Khar, in which the Secretary of State expressed her regret at the incident. "We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military," Ms Clinton said in a statement on the conversation in which, she added, the two acknowledged "mistakes" that resulted in the loss of life.
Pakistan closed the supply line in retaliation for the botched airstrike, forcing the US to use a longer northern route running through Central Asia, costing an extra $100m a month. The first trucks are expected to use the re-opened route today (ed: Wednesday), but Pentagon officials said it would be days at least before shipments returned to former levels.
With the US committed to withdrawing all combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, its ability to use the Pakistan transit route had become essential. But the agreement did not come easily for either side, each deeply suspicious of the other and obliged to take account of domestic political pressures.
The White House initially resisted anything smacking of an apology, fearful of playing into Republican charges that President Obama was failing to defend American interests, just as the 2012 election campaign moved towards its climax.
More fundamentally, many policymakers in Washington, pointing to the ties between elements of the Pakistani intelligence services and the Taliban, wonder aloud whether the country is to be counted a US ally at all.
Those doubts only intensified with the May 2011 US commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and the discovery that the al-Q'aida leader had been living for years in the hillstation town of Abbottabad, just two hours drive from Islamabad.
For Pakistan the same considerations apply, but in reverse. With anti-Americanism running high, the Islamabad governmment could not do anything that could be construed as a concession to the US – especially after the bin Laden operation, seen as a humiliating violation of the country's sovereignty. Even before that, public opinion was inflamed by the affair of Raymond Davis, the CIA private contractor who shot dead two men in Lahore, only to be released after the payment of $2.4m of 'blood money' by the US government.
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
sportNapoli 2 Arsenal 0: Gunners must now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in knock-out stages
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute
David Cameron explains selfie with Obama and Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Mandela Memorial
French café starts charging extra to rude customers
Krokodil in Mexico? Teenager hospitalised after 'injecting drug into her genitals'
Australia incest case: Filthy and severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 John McAfee's $100 'anti-NSA' device: 'this is coming and cannot be stopped'
- 4 Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories
- 5 Australia incest case: Filthy and severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- < Previous
- Next >
£77099.84 - £96375.26 per annum + Bonus + Benefits : Harrington Starr: My clie...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus and Package: Harrington Starr: Trading appli...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Developer (Win...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Senior QA Engineer Tes...