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


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.

Suggested Topics
people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
voicesBy the man who has
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Are you looking for part time/ ...

SEN (SLD/PMLD) Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Currently looking for teachers ...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?