Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Parvez Kayani met with top NATO officials today, reaffirming his support for their Afghanistan mission and promising to do everything within his power to ensure that the NATO supply line through Pakistan is kept open.
Shipment of supplies through the Khyber Pass has been made increasingly difficult by a growing number of hijackings, which has led the Pakistani government to shutter the crossing on more than one occasion. The US is reported to be searching for an alternate route, but the only practical one seems to be overland across Europe and into northern Afghanistan, an inconvenient route which would be dependent on access through Russia at a time when NATO-Russia relations are increasingly problematic.
Gen. Kayani also called for NATO to halt its drone attacks into Pakistani territory, the latest of which occurred earlier today in Bannu District, in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). Kayani did not mention a report earlier this week that the Pakistani government had reached a “tacit agreement” with the US on the drone strikes, under which the US never confirms the attacks and is given the benefit of the doubt that they really meant to hit targets inside Afghanistan. NWFP Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti called for diplomacy to stop the US drone strikes.