Pakistan to reopen supply route for Nato forces

Decision after US apologises for raid that killed Pak soldiers

Pakistan to reopen supply route for Nato forces

Smoke rises from burning fuel tankers after they were set ablaze in Sibi in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. REUTERS

The United States apologised to Pakistan on Wednesday for the September 30 raid that killed two Pakistani soldiers, raising hopes that Pakistan would reopen the Torkham border crossing in the northwest for transporting supplies for Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Militants in Pakistan have attacked convoys of tankers since the incursion to try to disrupt supplies. In the latest such attack, gunmen in the southwest set fire to nearly 30 tankers parked at a roadside restaurant early on Saturday.

Pakistan had closed the Torkham route passing through the Khyber Pass soon after the cross-border incursion killed the soldiers. Authorities cited security reasons.

“After assessing the security situation in all its aspects, the government has decided to reopen the Nato/ISAF supply from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border at Torkham with immediate effect,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Our relevant authorities are now in the process of coordinating with authorities on the other side of the border to ensure smooth resumption of the supply traffic.”

Richard Snelsire, the US embassy spokesman, said Washington welcomed the reopening of the border crossing, and called it “a positive development.”

An embassy official, speaking on background, said trucks would likely start moving into Afghanistan on Monday.

The helicopter strike that sparked the border row was the most serious of recent cross-border incidents involving Nato-led forces fighting in Afghanistan, which have stoked tensions with Pakistan. The US ambassador described the incursion as a terrible accident.

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