Pakistan, US sign NATO convoy deal

Pakistan on Tuesday signed a deal with the United States allowing NATO convoys to travel into Afghanistan until the end of 2015, seeking to draw a line under a seven-month border blockade.

Islamabad agreed to reopen land routes for NATO goods on July 3 after the longest suspension of the 10-year war in Afghanistan in protest at botched US air raids that killed 24 Pakistani troops, but few trucks have made it across since then.

The agreement is part of efforts by the allies to patch up their fractious relationship, which plunged into crisis last year over the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden, who was hiding in Pakistan, and the air strikes.

It comes just a day before the head of Pakistani intelligence, Lieutenant General Zaheer ul-Islam, begins a three-day visit to Washington for talks with the head of the CIA, which has been interpreted as another sign of a gradual rapprochement.

Under the deal signed in Rawalpindi, the home of Pakistan's powerful military, the United States will release $1.1 billion under the Coalition Support Fund to reimburse the troubled nation for fighting militants within its borders.

A US official said the deal lasts until the end of 2015, well beyond the 2014 departure date for the bulk of NATO's 130,000 combat troops from Afghanistan, and can be renewed for one-year intervals beyond that.

The deal specifies routes to be taken and has a list running to several pages of lethal supplies that may not be transported through Pakistan, although armoured vehicles and Humvees are permitted provided they are not mounted with weapons.

Guidelines laid out by the Pakistani parliament earlier this year insisted that no weapons and ammunition be transported through the country, though Western officials say this never happened in the first place.

A Pakistani official said the deal gave Islamabad the right to refuse or reject any shipment and special radio chips would be fitted to containers for monitoring.

Richard Hoagland, the deputy US ambassador to Islamabad who signed the agreement on behalf of Washington, hailed it as a "demonstration of increased transparency and openness" between the two governments.

Pakistan lifted its blockade after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said sorry for the air raid deaths, but rows over security guarantees and compensation have delayed a resumption of normal traffic.

Officials closed the Torkham border crossing, the quickest route to Kabul from the port city of Karachi, to NATO traffic on Thursday over security fears.

The Pakistani Taliban have vowed to attack NATO supplies and last Tuesday, one of the truck drivers was shot dead in the northwestern town of Jamrud.

Asif Yasin Malik, the top civil servant at the Pakistani defence ministry who attended the ceremony, said the deal would contribute to the stability of the region and hailed it as a "landmark event".

In Karachi, a leading subcontractor in the business, Alhaj Taj Mohammad, said Tuesday's agreement could help resolve the rows over security and compensation but predicted it could still take 10 days to start clearing goods from customs.

But Akram Khan Durrani, chairman of the All Pakistan Oil Tankers Owners Association, said fears about security would remain. "No owner is going to move his vehicle until solid guarantees are given for it," he told AFP.

The US official confirmed that security for convoys was not part of the MoU, saying that was Pakistan's responsibility.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February
    ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February

    Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) sustains its strong sales in its February performance. Toyota’s strong performance last month was due to the  high demand of the Vios, with sales of 2,012 units and of course the rest of Toyota’s line up such as the Fortuner, Innova, Wigo, Hilux, Avanza and Corolla Altis. Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, recorded 60 units last month. …

  • No apology, but Noy seeks understanding
    No apology, but Noy seeks understanding

    There was no apology, but President Aquino yesterday expressed regret, took “full responsibility” and appealed to the nation for “deepest understanding” for the Jan. 25 Mamasapano raid in which dozens died, including 44 police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos. “To every Filipino who has felt failure or has been hurt because of the events related to this operation, it is with abiding humility that I ask for your deepest understanding,” Aquino said in a speech before the 246 new graduates of …

  • MVP on endorsement: Thanks, I’m no politician
    MVP on endorsement: Thanks, I’m no politician

    Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan is grateful for Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s praise and presidential endorsement, but says he is not a politician. In an interview on the sidelines of the launch of the search for The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines 2015 Wednesday night, Pangilinan dismissed the idea of running for president in the 2016 elections. “I’m not a politician, I’m just an ordinary business person,” he added. Santiago endorsed Pangilinan as a presidential candidate …

  • No Lenten break in operations vs lawless groups – AFP
    No Lenten break in operations vs lawless groups – AFP

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is not suspending its offensive against the Abu Sayyaf, New People’s Army (NPA) and other lawless groups during the Holy Week, an official said yesterday. Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, AFP public affairs office chief, said the AFP leadership is leaving it up to area and division commanders whether to raise the alert status in preparation for the Holy Week. Those deployed in areas where there are ongoing law enforcement operations against terrorist groups …

  • Probe harassment vs human rights lawyer, CA orders AFP
    Probe harassment vs human rights lawyer, CA orders AFP

    The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to investigate a human rights lawyer’s claim of harassment, including surveillance, by several military officers. In a 22-page decision, the former Special Sixth Division of the appellate court granted the petition for writ of amparo and habeas data of Maria Catherine Dannug-Salucon. The CA ordered the AFP to identify the officers behind the surveillance and file charges against them. The CA ruling said …

  • Noy vows to dismantle bata-bata system in PNP
    Noy vows to dismantle bata-bata system in PNP

    President Aquino vowed yesterday to dismantle the culture of factionalism or the bata-bata system within the Philippine National Police as he continued the search for the next PNP chief. Speaking at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) commencement exercises here, the President said the country needed solidarity among leaders and members of the police force so that the policemen would be effective protectors of Filipinos. “Our challenge to the next chief of our national police force: …

  • Envoy to expats: Retire, invest in Phl
    Envoy to expats: Retire, invest in Phl

    Retire and invest in real estate in the Philippines, especially now that the country has made it to the top 10 retirement destinations in the world. This is the message being spread by the Philippine embassy in Washington, with Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. leading the refrain in meetings with various Filipino-American communities in the US. In his talks, Cuisia said that an affordable cost of living as well as warm climate and people are just some of the things that make the Philippines a top …

  • PNPA spotlight falls on Ampatuan grandson
    PNPA spotlight falls on Ampatuan grandson

    The stigma of being a namesake of the principal suspect in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre did not prevent Cadet First Class Andal Ampatuan III from entering and graduating from the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA). Ampatuan III, now with a rank of police inspector, is a grandson of former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. The younger Ampatuan was among the 246 graduates of the PNPA “Lakandula” Class of 2015. Ampatuan III’s mother is Bai Rebecca Ampatuan, a daughter of the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options