Pakstan re-opens border
- Published: 4 Jul 2012 at 19.43
- Online news:
ISLAMABAD : Thousands of Pakistani truck drivers Wednesday prepared to resume key NATO supply convoys into Afghanistan and end a bitter seven-month standoff, after Washington apologised over a botched air raid.
Islamabad agreed to reopen the land routes into its war-torn neighbour after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was sorry for the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers in an air strike in November.
The incident enraged Pakistan, prompting the closure of the supply lines and plunging ties with the United States to a new low, after the US raid to kill Osama bin Laden.
As part of the deal, which followed months of negotiations, Washington will release about $1.1 billion to the Pakistani military from a US "coalition support fund" designed to reimburse Pakistan for the cost of counter-insurgency operations.
Islamabad, a key but wary US ally in the fight against Taliban militants, had steadfastly insisted on an apology for the November attack, but Washington had previously only expressed regret.
In the sprawling port city of Karachi on Wednesday, drivers and their helpers were cleaning hundreds of trucks that have stood idle during the seven-month layoff.
Oil trucks queue at Karachi, ready to leave for Afghanistan (AFP Photo)
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