Pakistan Opens Up To NATO
After seven months of tension between the US and Pakistan, the Pakistani government opened their supply lines to NATO trucks again. How did this tension come to play? On November 26 of last year, 24 Pakistani soldiers were accidentally killed at the Afghanistan border. The next day, Pakistan announced that they were closing the supply lines to NATO troops in retaliation. The US-Pakistani relations hit an all-time low. Let’s take a closer look at NATO and this conflict…
What is NATO?
NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It was established in the 1949 as a way to provide military support around the world. NATO currently has 28 member states and constitutes over 70% of the world’s defense spending. Recently, NATO has been shipping supplies to American soldiers fighting Islamic militants in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan, where the American troops are fighting, is a landlocked country. These supplies are vital to the US as a way to get much needed supplies to the troops. Although there are other routes besides the one through Pakistan, the Pakistan route is by far the cheapest. When the Pakistani government closed down the route to NATO trucks, the trucks took a route that went up through Russia and into Afghanistan. This route was costing the American government 100 billion more a month, something it can’t afford. Now that the route through Pakistan is reopened, the US will be saving billions of dollars.
For seven months after the airstrikes killed the 24 Pakistanis, the US refused to give an apology. The government expressed their regret, but would go no further in fear that an apology would upset the American public. On Tuesday, July 3, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton called the Pakistani foreign minister and presented a formal apology. “We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military. We are committed to working closely with Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent this from ever happening again.” Clinton stated. After speaking with Clinton, the Pakistani foreign minister had a meeting with the president and prime minister of Pakistan. Then, the military and political leadership met and they decided to reopen the supply lines.
What Happens Next?
Now that the supply lines have been reopened, the 2,500 trucks that have been waiting in the Pakistani city of Karachi, will continue the perilous trek to Afghanistan. At one point, the Pakistani government had threatened to raise the price for shipping but they agreed to leave the rate at about $250 per truck. The job of trucking the supplies isn’t one without risk. The Pakistan Taliban has sent out threats that they are going to attack the supply trucks and they have in the past. The other part of this agreement is that the US will pay Pakistan 1.1 billion dollars in military aid that has been stalled for the past year. It is a relief to both countries that their relationship has been mended. Now that an agreement has been reached, it would seem that the tension of the last seven months has eased.