Pakistan is reopening key supply routes into Afghanistan closed since November, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday, adding the U.S. was sorry for the loss of life in an attack last year. During a telephone conversation Tuesday with her Pakistani counterpart Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, she “informed me that the ground supply lines into Afghanistan are opening,” Ms. Clinton said.
Islamabad has long demanded that Washington must apologize for the air raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, before it would reopen the NATO routes, closed in anger after the U.S. attack.
“Foreign Minister Khar and I acknowledged the mistakes that resulted in the loss of Pakistani military lives,” Ms. Clinton said in a statement.
“We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military. We are committed to working closely with Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent this from ever happening again.”
Earlier, Pakistan’s new prime minister acknowledged that continuing the seven-month blockade was negatively affecting relations with the United States and other NATO member states.
“The continued closure of supply lines not only impinge our relationship with the U.S., but also on our relations with the 49 other member states of NATO,” Raja Pervez Ashraf told a meeting of top civilian and military leaders.
A senior government official said the defence committee of cabinet had met to discuss whether to end the blockade, but his office stopped short of announcing any decision after the talks ended.
The blockade has forced the alliance to rely on longer, more expensive northern routes through Russia and Central Asia.