NATO Chief Hopes Pakistan Supply Route Will Reopen Soon

Posted June 13th, 2012 at 4:45 am (UTC-5)
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NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen says he hopes supply routes through Pakistan into neighboring Afghanistan will be reopened soon.

Rasmussen spoke Wednesday during a visit to Australia, days after a team of U.S. negotiators left Pakistan without a new transit deal.

Pakistan closed the NATO supply lines in November after U.S. airstrikes mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani troops near the Afghan border. U.S. and Pakistani officials say the two sides are still working to resolve the issue.

Rasmussen also stressed the importance of agreements he announced last week for NATO to withdraw equipment through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan as the Afghan war winds down.

We want as many options as possible. It goes without saying that winding down a very comprehensive mission in Afghanistan is logistically quite a challenge and to manage that we need as many transit possibilities as possible.”

Pakistan has demanded the United States apologize for the deadly cross-border attack and end drone strikes on Pakistani territory.

Washington has refused both, offering only condolences for the November strike and continuing drone attacks in Pakistan's northwest tribal areas. The United States says the drone strikes are a vital tool in the war against al-Qaida and the Taliban.