CENTCOM commander General James Mattis says that he expects the Pakistani government to agree to reopen the border to NATO supplies “soon,” adding that he plans to visit Pakistan later this month to “reopen the discussion.”
The Pakistani government closed the border in late November in response to a US attack on a pair of Pakistani military bases. Though NATO has denied that the closure has impacted the occupation, Mattis said it could conceivably threaten the planned reduction in the size of the US occupation force in the country.
US officials have repeatedly predicted that the routes would be reopened “soon,” and even kept truck drivers waiting at the border for weeks on end under that assumption. Even Pakistani Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani predicted in December that the blockade would only last “several additional weeks.”
Behind the surprising delays are that relations with Pakistan haven’t really gotten any better since November, with major anti-US rallies continuing nationwide and anger at US meddling in internal conflicts.