No Fees for Transport, Pakistan Promises
President Obama may have never directly apologized himself for the US attack on Pakistan in November which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally did today, and apparently that’s close enough for the Zardari government, which is reopening supply lines to occupied Afghanistan.
The supply route was closed almost immediately after the November killings, and US officials have said it has cost them an extra $100 million a month to send supplies through the more expensive northern route. Only yesterday the Pentagon was seeking more money for the war on these grounds.
Pakistan’s parliament initially conditioned the reopening of the border on an apology from Obama and the end to US drone strikes. The US ruled out both and then rejected a compromise deal for a transport fee as “price gouging.” Pakistan has promised not to bring back the fee, according to Clinton.
So in the end a nice cheap apology, given half a year after the fact, was enough to resolve the issue. This is likely to be enormously unpopular in Pakistan, where massive anti-US protests have become growingly common and opposition parties are positioning themselves as less pliable on the US issue for the upcoming elections.
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