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alfa2bravo
13 Dec 11,, 06:35
Pakistan is refusing to help calm public fury — or help figure out what led to a NATO attack that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead. It has rejected American entreaties to participate in a joint investigation. Last week, it boycotted an international conference in Bonn that laid plans for Afghanistan’s future. Both moves are self-defeating.

If there is any chance of salvaging a working relationship, Washington and Islamabad must establish what went wrong along the border and work together to ensure that it does not happen again. The Pentagon has promised a transparent inquiry — it must deliver one — and officials say they can compensate for Pakistan’s lack of cooperation by using phone conversations, email exchanges and surveillance images. But without Islamabad’s participation, the Pakistani public will never find the results credible.

The two sides have radically different versions of what went awry during an Afghan-American operation against a Taliban training camp. The Americans say they were fired on first and cleared the strikes with Pakistani Army officers. The Pakistanis say that NATO gave the wrong coordinates for the strikes and that their forces fired only after the attacks began.

The United States needs Pakistan’s cooperation — as grudging and duplicitous as it is. Islamabad controls supply routes for American troops in Afghanistan (they were closed in retaliation for the attack), and it is essential to negotiations with the Taliban. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta quickly offered condolences. President Obama waited eight days to overrule Pentagon concerns and telephone President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan to say the deaths were regrettable and accidental. We share frustrations over Pakistan, but that delay further fueled the crisis.

Pakistan needs American aid and help to hold off the extremists — a fact no Pakistani leader has the courage to admit.Their behavior in recent days has become even more irresponsible. Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the chief of the Pakistani Army, made things more dangerous by giving his border troops the green light to return fire without asking for permission beforehand.

Pakistan’s refusal to attend the Bonn conference was misguided. The meeting, attended by dozens of countries and organizations, worked on a political and economic strategy to ensure Afghan stability after NATO troops draw down. Pakistan has a strong strategic and economic interest in Afghanistan’s future. With its boycott, it has denied itself a voice and increased its own isolation.

The New York Times (Dec. 5) (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/06/opinion/pakistan-fans-the-flames.html?_r=1&scp=4&sq=Pakistan&st=cse)

lemontree
14 Dec 11,, 04:32
The PA bombs the twin towers, sucks the US economy dry, and has the audacity to show such desent - and the US is doing all it can to pacify them!!

S2
14 Dec 11,, 04:37
Let's please make certain we use quote marks on passages from the writings of others. Thanks.

Pakistan's conduct is to be expected at this point. Any substantive relationship has long-since eroded and is now a sham in every respect but that we pay to ship goods through their country.

Short of that we are as estranged as a divorced oouple now.

Double Edge
21 May 12,, 19:42
Reopening Pakistani routes crucial for NATO exit plan | AFP | May 20 2012 (http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iCMZR6MloT1ABlAVnP574Ywsr2hA?docId=CNG.2b50f 898e8f7f99cf34f529f75036c96.01)

Reopening Pakistani routes crucial for NATO exit plan
By Dan De Luce (AFP) – 1 day ago

CHICAGO — With Pakistan so far unwilling to reopen supply routes to Afghanistan, NATO faces a potential logistical nightmare as it prepares for a costly withdrawal of military hardware over the next two years.
In the run-up a NATO summit that opened Sunday, US and Pakistani officials had signaled growing optimism that a deal would be clinched on reopening the routes, which Islamabad had closed in November over a botched American air raid.

But negotiations stumbled over Pakistan's demand to charge several thousand dollars per truck, instead of the current rate of roughly $250.

A senior US official told AFP on Sunday the exponential hike in fees, reportedly as much as $5,000 per truck, was "unacceptable" and that Pakistan had failed to present a consistent, coherent negotiating position.

US officials have so far refused a demand from Islamabad for an explicit apology over the air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Since Pakistan shut the northwest border crossing to NATO about six months ago, the US-led force in Afghanistan has managed to endure the closure by relying on cargo flights and a more costly northern route through Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus.

The shift has carried a price, costing two and a half times more per container than the Pakistani route, according to US military officials.

But under NATO's plan to withdraw most of the 130,000-strong coalition force in Afghanistan by the end of 2014 -- including a vast fleet of vehicles and equipment -- the Pakistani route is considered crucial.

General William Fraser, head of US Transportation Command, told senators in February that the shorter Pakistan route was needed to ensure hardware could be withdrawn on schedule.

"With the amount of equipment we need to move... we need the Pakistan GLOC (ground line of communication) open," Fraser told the Senate Armed Services Committee in February.

Last year, before the Torkham gate border crossing was shut, the United States moved more than 35,000 shipping containers through Pakistan, according to Fraser.

In another complication for NATO's exit plan, countries along the northern route have approved the transit of military vehicles and supplies but have prohibited shipping weapons through their territories.

German Defense Minister Thomas De Maiziere, speaking to reporters in Chicago, acknowledged using the northern route was a "complicated process" because it passed through so many countries.

The most practical and inexpensive route into Afghanistan runs through Iran's port of Chabahar, but that is not an option given the long-running hostility between Iran and the United States.

For Pakistan, the border crossing is a valuable source of revenue and leverage that will dry up once NATO completes its planned departure in 2014.

The United States for its part provides more than $2 billion in military assistance every year to Pakistan, including $300 million devoted to financing Pakistani forces along the border with Afghanistan.

The US administration last year suspended hundreds of millions in military aid to Pakistan, saying Islamabad needed to do more to fight Islamist militants allied with the Taliban.

Six months after shutting the border to NATO, Pakistan on Friday had allowed containers of office supplies for the US embassy in Kabul to cross into Afghanistan through the Torkham gate, feeding speculation that Islamabad was on the verge of reopening the crossing.

But officials at Torkham, a mountainous outpost through which trucks packed with fuel and food for NATO used to trundle through daily, said there was no link between supplies for embassies and NATO goods.

In Chicago, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was scheduled to meet Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on the eve of the alliance summit but the session was canceled.

Both NATO and Pakistani officials insisted that the last-minute change was due to the late arrival of Zardari's flight.

Rasmussen expressed cautious optimism on Sunday that Pakistan would reopen the border to alliance convoys. "I do hope that we will see a reopening of the transit routes in the very near future," he said.

Double Edge
21 May 12,, 19:51
There seems to be a doubt here on exactly how much Pakistan is asking per truck.

Nato summit: US-Pakistan rift widens over supply lines into Afghanistan | Guardian | May 21 2012 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/21/nato-us-pakistan-supply-lines)

Nato summit: US-Pakistan rift widens over supply lines into Afghanistan

Obama refuses bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, who wants demands met before roads reopen

Ewen MacAskill in Chicago
guardian.co.uk, Monday 21 May 2012 06.40 BST

A rift between the US and Pakistan appears to be widening at the Nato summit in Chicago – a dangerous development that could undermine Barack Obama's hopes for an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The US has said repeatedly that Pakistan holds the key to the future of the region but relations between Obama and President Asif Ali Zardari have deteriorated in a standoff over supply routes to Afghanistan.

Pakistan closed the routes after a US air strike killed two dozen Pakistani troops in November.

Obama is refusing to see Zardari, possibly because he arrived in Chicago without a deal in his pocket on reopening the Pakistan-Afghanistan border to US transport. A White House spokesman said no bilateral meeting between Obama and Zardari at the Nato summit was scheduled.

Instead Pakistan is making a series of demands in return for reopening the supply routes, including a review of the US policy of drone attacks against targets inside Pakistan and a public apology for the killing of its troops.

Zardari was invited late to the two-day Nato summit, which will be dominated on Monday by discussion of the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan by 2014 and the retention of a modest armed presence in the county for a decade after that.

The Obama administration had high hopes that Zardari would arrive in Chicago prepared to announce the opening of supply routes essential to Nato. Zardari, in talks with the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, made a series of demands, offering to reopen the supply routes only if the US was prepared to pay a higher charge for each vehicle using it, doubling the tariff from $250 to $500 per vehicle. Sources later said Pakistan may be demanding up to $5,000 per vehicle. Zardari also wants a public apology for the killings.

The fact that Zardari had to settle for a meeting with Clinton rather than the president is in itself a snub.

General John Allen, the US commander in Afghanistan, told reporters at a briefing: "There have been some very positive indications of late with the government in Islamabad about an interest in entering into negotiations, which I think you're all aware of, to open the ground line of communications. I can't tell you when that will occur – obviously sooner is better than later."

A Pakistan presidential spokesman said Zardari told Clinton he wanted "to find a permanent solution to the drone issue as it not only violated our sovereignty but also inflamed public sentiments due to innocent civilian casualties". The US is using drone attacks on suspected al-Qaida and Taliban members.

The Obama administration is angry over the demand for increased payments given the level of aid America is already giving to Pakistan. US officials frequently portray Pakistan as pivotal to a peaceful resolution of the Afghanistan conflict.

The Nato summit is on course to agree details of a phased withddrawal of the 130,000 international troops over the next two and a half years and to announce millions in dollars to maintain Afghan forces after 2014.

Pakistan has a crucial role in Afghanistan because of its close ties to the Taliban and other insurgent groups challenging the Afghanistan government.

Pakistan will regard it as a humiliation that Obama refused to grant Zardari a bilateral meeting, particularly as he met President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan in Chicago on Sunday an hour before the Nato summit opened.

The Obama administration has expressed regret over the killing of the Pakistan troops but is reluctant to issue an apology, concerned this will be portrayed by Republicans as a sign of weakness.

The Nato secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said on Sunday that Nato realised it could not solve Afghanistan's problems without including Pakistan in the solution. He expressed hope the supply route issue would be resolved soon.

With the route through Pakistan closed, Nato has had to use supply routes to the north of Afghanistan, which are slower and more costly.

The White House national security spokesman, Ben Rhodes, asked at a press conference if Zardari had gone to Chicago under the misconception he would see Obama, replied that Obama's schedule was busy. He said issues such as the reopening of supply lines were not normally dealt with at presidential level. Rhodes said: "The invitation to attend this summit was extended by Nato of course. We obviously supported that. It's important for Pakistan to be here because as we contemplate the future of the region, they are obviously going to be a part of that picture.

"What I would say is, frankly, the types of issues that are being worked through about the reopening of the supply lines are not the type of issues that get hammered out at the presidential level. These are things that working-level negotiating teams sit down and address."

Rhodes did not anticipate a bilateral meeting between Zardari and Obama.

Double Edge
21 May 12,, 20:15
Lift of NATO supply blockade may trigger a wave of protests, terrorist attacks in Pakistan | Xinhua | May 18 2012 (http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2012-05/18/c_131596549.htm)

2012-05-18 14:43:02
By Jamil Bhatti

ISLAMABAD, May 18 (Xinhua) -- The possible restoration of supply lines for the NATO forces fighting in Afghanistan is likely to trigger a wide range of protests and terrorist attacks in Pakistan as some militant groups and religio-political forces warned the government against the probable decision.

The high-powered Pakistan's Defense Committee of the Cabinet ( DCC), consists of the country's high-level civil and military ranks, on Tuesday finalized to remove the almost six-month old blockade on NATO supplies passing through the country for the neighboring Afghanistan, the sources revealed.

After the meeting, chaired by the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told media that the DCC meeting that focused to review Pakistan's troubled ties with the United States and there would be more consultations before taking a final decision on restoration of NATO supply line.

Whether it is true or not but some signs and developments showed that Pakistan, as per expectations, has decided to reopen the NATO supply rout that was suspended after the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers during an air strike on border check posts in November last year.

Just hours before the meeting, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen phoned President Asif Ali Zardari and extended invitation to him to attend the historic summit of over 60 world leaders in Chicago on May 20-21 to discuss the future of Afghanistan.

According to some analysts, the invitation for president Zardari clearly showed that something had already been decided through the backdoor channels because last week, Rasmussen linked Pakistan's participation in the Chicago summit with the resumption of NATO supplies.

This invitation came after a press conference by Pakistan's foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Monday evening in which she clearly hinted at the restoration of NATO supplies.

"Pakistan has made a point and we want to move towards positive zone," said Khar besides making it clear that Pakistan doesn't want to challenge a block of over 40 countries including its friendly country Turkey.

She also said that Pakistan had not charged a single penny on the supply during last one decade but now was interested in charging the NATO transportation as it had damaged roads and other infrastructure of the country.

According to some media reports, Pakistan has demanded 1500 to 1800 US dollars as the levy on each NATO vehicle passing through its land that would cost US approximate $365 million annually.

In another development, top military commanders from Pakistan and the United States-led ISAF held negotiations on Saturday in garrison city of Rawalpindi to review operational matters damaging their cooperation and possible reopening of the NATO supply.

"Talks focused on operations in border areas and coordination mechanisms to avoid untoward incidents," said a press release by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan army's media wing.

Pakistan closed the NATO supply lines soon after the unprovoked air strikes by the NATO forces at its army's border check posts that killed 24 soldiers and officers while leaving 13 others injured on Nov 26 last year in Mohmand Agency, Pakistan's northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

On the same day, a meeting of the DCC, Pakistan's highest strategic decision-making forum, with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in the chair, decided to close the NATO supplies and asked the US to vacate the Shamsi Airbase.

The closure of the supply route also left thousands of trailers and containers bound for Afghanistan stranded across the country. Since after the invasion of US-led forces in Afghanistan, NATO have been using Pakistani land routes that start from southern port city of Karachi and end at southwestern Chamman and northwestern Torkham border.

Before the suspension, at least 70 percent of the NATO's supplies to Afghanistan and 40 percent of its fuel needs were sent through Pakistan.

Following the check post attack, Pakistan refused to attend a special summit for the Afghan endgame held in Bonn, Germany in December last year.

A special committee was assigned to formulate Pakistan's new strategy and guidelines for the engagement with the US and NATO.

Later on, Pakistani parliament unanimously approved new guidelines in April by demanding an "unconditional apology" from US for the check posts attack besides halting drone strikes in northwestern region of the country.

Prime Minister Gilani, commenting on NATO supply restoration issue, said Pak-US bilateral relations were at a critical stage and they would have to take some important decisions.

Despite there is no clear time to reopen the supply line, the movement of Afghanistan bound vehicles can be seen, especially, in Karachi. Some transporters claimed that they had received clear message to be prepared for the upcoming opening of the supplies.

Amid the news of NATO supply restoration, some unknown militants threatened the British, French and Australian embassies in Islamabad by sending parcels, containing some suspicious black powder inside them.

According to the police officials, the parcels also contained handwritten letters in English with threats to avenge by poisoning NATO food supplies if Pakistan opens it.

In the past, the absence of security for the NATO vehicles in Pakistan became an ideal opportunity for the militants to attack such convoys heading towards Afghanistan. In such attacks dozens of people, working for NATO supplies, were killed and hundreds of containers were destroyed by the militants across Pakistan.

In two major attacks at the NATO convoys that took place in the outskirts of the capital Islamabad at least 14 people were killed and over 90 oil tankers were torched by the militants.

Besides the threats from the militants, Pakistan's religio- political parties' union "Defense Pakistan Council" announced to hold countrywide protest against the government decision. These protests can create law and order situation for the government that had already been struggling against many issues.

No govt official is ready to tell any fix time for the NATO supply restoration but Information Minister Kaira said that they would not hesitate to take any unpopular decision to fulfill the country's responsibilities besides hinting that the conclusion would come after president Zardari had discussed the matters in the Chicago summit.