Pak to reopen Torkham route for NATO convoys following US, ISAF apology

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Islamabad, Oct 9 (ANI): The Pakistan government has decided in principle to reopen the Torkham border route for supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan, following apologies by the United States and the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) command over the death of three Pakistani troops in one of its cross-border air strikes last week.

A senior official confirmed that the route was being reopened, the Dawn reported.

Suspension of supplies for nine days played on the nerves of the US strategists, as it had come at a most inopportune time when the operations in southern Afghanistan were at their peak. The US, however, kept denying that the closure could affect the operations.

As about 80 per cent of NATO's supplies transit through Pakistan, it is believed that the temporary stoppage was meant to remind the US how much it depended on the Asian nation for sustaining its military operations in Afghanistan, as the routes passing through Pakistan are not only cost-effective, but they are also the most convenient ones despite security threats.

Security threats to NATO convoys in view of the agitated emotions in the country over the incursions was used as a pretext for holding up of its supplies.

Over one hundred tankers carrying fuel for NATO were torched, and about a dozen people killed in militant attacks during these nine days of border closure.

It is noteworthy that despite the rather harsh action of suspending the Torkham route, Pakistani authorities kept the Chaman route open during this period, indicating that they were not inflexible and were open to discussions over the cross-border air attacks issue.

Last week, the three Pakistani army men were killed in an early morning air strike by NATO helicopters at a military post, 200 metres inside the Pakistani border in Kurram Agency.

Reacting to the incident, Pakistan had suspended supply convoys along the Khyber Pass route, which links Peshawar in Pakistan with Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, and lodged a protest with the NATO command in Brussels, demanding an apology for the killings as well as intrusions in Pakistani territory. (ANI)

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