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Nato wants relations with Pakistan back on track


Nato wants to get relations with Pakistan back on track "as quickly as possible" to reopen its key supply route for foreign troops fighting in Afghanistan, a coalition spokesman said on Monday.

Pakistan closed its main trading route to Afghanistan in November, choking a major supply line for the 130,000-strong US-led force, following a deadly air strike by the alliance force that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the border.

Islamabad rejects the coalition's report that blamed the incident on mistakes by both sides and has not said when it will reopen the route.

"We... have an interest for the international community and for Afghanistan that relations with Pakistan are normalising as quickly as possible," said Brigadier General Carsten Jacobsen.

"We are aware that there are things that are not travelling to Afghanistan because they are stuck at border control points.

"It mainly affects the economy, wages, work for people who are in the transport business in Pakistan and Afghanistan."

The spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force however sought to allay concerns among Afghans that the route blockage would force the coalition to buy locally and force a hike in the price of fuel and food.

"The people of Afghanistan will not be challenged by NATO buying their fuel and their food. NATO's stockpiles are more than sufficient," he said.

An official at Pakistan's southern port of Karachi earlier said that NATO military vehicles and supplies were piling up at the docks, with truck drivers unable to drive them to the northwestern border to cross into Afghanistan.

"At present, a total of 3,676 military vehicles and 1,732 containers belonging to NATO forces are at the port," a port official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The deadly incident heightened tensions in an already fragile relationship between the US and Pakistan, with Pakistani officials alleging deliberate US targeting of their troops at border posts.