Pak to reopen blocked NATO supply route 'with immediate effect'

Islamabad, Oct 10 (ANI): Following apologies and assurances from the United States, Pakistan has decided to reopen the Torkham route for NATO forces in Afghanistan with immediate effect, ending a 10-day standoff between the two countries over cross-border air strikes staged by US-led forces in Afghanistan.

In a short statement issued on Saturday, the Pakistani foreign ministry declared that it had decided to reopen the Khyber Pass crossing after assessing the security situation in all aspects, the BBC reported.

"Our relevant authorities are now in the process of co-ordinating with authorities on the other side of the border to ensure smooth resumption of the supply traffic," the statement added.

In response, US Embassy Spokesman Richard Snelsire stated that his country welcomed the "positive development," but added that it was unlikely that the flow of NATO supplies would resume before Monday, as the border was normally closed on Sundays.

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

This was their fourth aerial violation of Pakistani territory in less than a week, but the first in which soldiers were killed. 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.

On Wednesday, the US apologised for the helicopter attack after a NATO investigation found that the "tragic event could have been avoided with better coalition force co-ordination with the Pakistan military."

The Pakistan government declared a diplomatic and political victory in the National Assembly, after receiving apologies from the United States and NATO over the air strikes in Pakistani territory. (ANI)

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