Nato Chief Urges Pakistan to Keep Afghan Transit Lines Open


BRUSSELS: Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged Pakistan on Monday to keep open supply lines to Nato forces in Afghanistan despite anger over a US drone strike that killed the Pakistani Taliban leader.

Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen gestures during his monthly press conference at the Residence Palace in Brussels. AFP Photo

Pakistan said on Sunday it would review its relationship with the United States after Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed two days earlier in North Waziristan, near the Afghan border.

“I feel confident that the Pakistani authorities will maintain open supply routes and transit routes because it is in Pakistan’s own interest to contribute positively to stability and security in the region,” Rasmussen told a news conference.

The Pakistani government denounced Mehsud’s killing as a US attempt to derail peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban, who have killed thousands in their campaign to impose their rule.

Some Pakistani politicians have demanded that transit routes through Pakistan, used to supply Nato-led forces in Afghanistan, be cut in response.

Pakistan is the main route to supply US troops in landlocked Afghanistan with everything from food and drinking water to fuel. Any closure could be a serious disruption as US and other Western forces prepare to withdraw most of their troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year.

Pakistani cooperation is also seen as vital in trying to bring peace to Afghanistan, in particular in nudging the Afghan Taliban, allied to, but separate from, the Pakistani Taliban, into talks with the Kabul government.

Pakistan and the United States agreed in July 2012 to reopen land routes to Afghanistan, ending a seven-month crisis that damaged ties between the two countries. Without the Pakistani route, Nato forces are forced to use more expensive methods, such as airlifts, to bring supplies in.

Rasmussen declined to comment on the drone strike that killed Mehsud but appeared to lend support to US actions, saying “terrorism constitutes a threat to the whole region”.

He said he believed the Pakistani authorities, including the government and the military, realised it was in Islamabad’s interest to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“The security of Afghanistan and Pakistan is inter-linked. There can’t be security in the one country without security in the other,” he said.

Kerry says Washington sensitive to Pakistani concerns

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry defended the drone strike that killed Hakimullah Mehsud but added that Washington was sensitive to any Pakistani concerns, after Islamabad denounced the attack as a blow to peace talks.

Hakimullah Mehsud, who took over as the leader of the al Qaeda-linked Pakistani Taliban in 2009, was killed on Friday, along with three others, in a US drone strike in northwest Pakistan.

The Pakistani government denounced Mehsud’s killing as a US bid to derail peace talks and summoned the US ambassador on Saturday to complain. Some politicians called for blocking US military supply lines into Afghanistan.

Kerry said that while he welcomed any discussions “we are sensitive to the concerns of the country and we look forward to working very closely with the government of Pakistan.”

“We intend to continue to work together with them (Pakistanis) through the strategic dialogue that we have established in order to work through these kinds of challenges.”

He added of Mehsud: “This is a man who absolutely is known to have targeted and killed many Americans, many Afghans and many Pakistanis. A huge number of Pakistanis have died at the hands of Mehsud and his terrorist organisation.”

Source: Dawn

Discussion1 Comment

  1. Don’t get your hopes up Pakistani assuming the government will grow a spine and man up…

    The dog just wants a bone… Few green crisp notes under the table for the fat punjabi and his cohorts and the dog will carry wagging it’s tail and licking Uncle SAM’s boots again and both can play fetch again.

    Hakeemullah is dead good riddance.

    This should not have been a matter of discourse and look at closing NATO supply lines or reviewing ties with USA, or reviewing the drone policy…but when hundreds were murdered by American drones, when 1000’s of Visas were given to mercenaries to support, train and co ordinate terror attacks inside Pakistan. Yes America tramples over the sovereignty of Pakistan time and time again and the government does not have the balls to stand up to them when innocents are bieng bombed and massacred so why when a lunatic high profile terrorist.

    This is because the fat punjabi needs a new bone to chew, this government like the last lacks honour, courage and grace. The policy should have been to annihilate TTP wherever they are with full force not sit around the table for a band of thugs without a cause.

    America did not change policies in a decade nor respect Pakistani sovereignty for a decade and it sure ain’t today.

    The government response is nothing but very poor showman ship from a bunch of eunuchs not men, so don’t you worry NATO it will be business as usual after few palms will be greased.

    On this occasion I will say good going USA even though US intentions was personal and a strategic move in the Great Game. From a people who has lost so much to this butcher I did not even think otherwise knowing very well America plays her own game and the puppet master just cut the strings of her own puppet.

    To be honest when I heard that khwareej was dead it brought a smile to my face.

    Good riddance and carry on business as usual because I do not see Pakistan Government growing balls any day soon.

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