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US-Pakistan relations still tense after apology

(Global Times)

09:20, July 09, 2012

Michael Kugelman

Editor's Note:

Pakistan has agreed to reopen supply routes to Afghanistan for NATO convoys after a US apology for a cross-border NATO air strike which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in last November. Why did the US apologize? Will the reopening of the supply lines improve the Pakistan-US relations? Global Times (GT) reporter Shu Meng invited Michael Kugelman (Kugelman), program associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Aftab Hussain (Hussain), assistant research officer at the Islamabad-based Islamabad Policy Research Institute, to talk about these issues.

GT: What is the importance of the supply lines? Why NATO and the US forces in Afghanistan attach great importance to the routes?

Kugelman: NATO and the US have other means of transporting their material, particularly through the Northern route via Afghanistan and Central Asia, and via air. However, the Pakistan-based routes are by far the cheapest, safest, and most efficient. The US lost millions of dollars by not using the Pakistan routes. Given the struggling US economy, it is very difficult politically for the US government to spend so much money on alternate routes.

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