Putting an end to seven and a half months of border closure, the first NATO trucks have crossed Pakistan today, bringing mineral water into occupied Afghanistan. The loss of the Pakistan route for that period was costly, with some estimates putting the overall addition cost to the US at over $1 billion to ship through the northern route.
The opening of the route doesn’t mean a full return to its use for supplies just yet, however, as Pakistani officials say that there is a massive backlog at the port in Karachi and getting clearance up to speed will take time.
Despite being a step forward in US-Pakistan relations, there is still a long road to travel before the relationship is anything close to normal. This weekend massive protest marches are expected in Pakistan from political and religious factions unhappy with the deal.
Pakistan’s parliament had initially demanded the closure continue until the US agreed to both apologize for the November attack on Pakistani military bases and promise a full end to their drone war against Pakistan’s tribal areas. Though an apology finally came, the US has continued its drone strikes.
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