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Pakistan-U.S. relations worsen: British think tank

(Xinhua)

10:23, May 26, 2012

LONDON, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Relations between the United States and Pakistan have taken a turn for the worse and the diplomatic breakthrough over access to Afghanistan for NATO troops has failed to materialize, an expert of a London-based international affairs think tank said on Friday.

The NATO summit in Chicago last weekend saw an unexpected invitation to attend extended to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

Zardari attended, and NATO leaders had high hopes that there would be a breakthrough in negotiations over using the southern supply route into and out of Afghanistan.

The NATO leaders agreed in Chicago to remove combat troops and equipment from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, and the southern supply route, which began at the southern port city of Karachi and ended at southwestern Chamman and northwestern Torkham border, would be their best withdrawal option.

Before the suspension, at least 70 percent of NATO's supplies to Afghanistan and 40 percent of its fuel needs were sent through Pakistan.

Now, supplies must take a much longer and more expensive route from the north, through Russia and other neighboring states.

The southern route was shut to NATO troops and supplies after relations between Pakistan and NATO/the United States worsened in November.

This was in the wake of the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in Pakistan on the border with Afghanistan in a badly-targeted attack by the U.S. air units.


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