Pakistan: NATO supply routes reopen


Fuel tanker trucks, used to transport fuel to NATO forces in Afghanistan, are seen parked along a road in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on June 12, 2012. Pakistan told the US on July 3, 2012, that it would reopen NATO supply routes into Afghanistan.



Trucks carrying NATO supplies crossed the Pakistan border into Afghanistan for the first time in seven months on Thursday, according to the BBC.

Pakistani officials said three NATO containers crossed Chaman point on Thursday, after Islamabad reopened the transit routes.

The reopening is a sign of improvement in relations between the United States and Pakistan, which deteriorated when American airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November, said the Associated Press.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apologized for the soldier deaths and Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said the deadlock was hurting Pakistan's relations with NATO members, reported the AP.

More on GlobalPost: Five American NATO soldiers shot by man in Afghan army uniform

The two countries are still hampered by disagreement over American drone strikes and Pakistan's alleged support of Taliban militants.

During the seven months that the supply routes were closed, the US had to use expensive and lengthy routes through the former Soviet Union. CNN reported that the alternate routes were costing the US $100 million more per month.

More on GlobalPost: Pakistan opens NATO supply line after Clinton apology

Currently, the cost per truck is somewhere around $250, and Pakistan had been asking for $5,000 per truck in exchange for reopening the routes. Pakistan agreed not to impose an additional transit fee on the reopened routes after Clinton's apology on Tuesday, according to CNN.

Opposition parties and religious leaders have criticized the reopening of the supply routes, according to The New York Times. Anti-American sentiment remains high in Pakistan, with a Pew Research Center survey from June showing that 74 percent of respondents considered the US an enemy, higher than 69 percent in 2011 and 64 percent three years ago.

The supply routes remain especially vital while the US prepares to pull its combat troops from Afghanistan by 2014, noted the BBC.

More on GlobalPost: When the BRICs crumble

Courtesy of The Washington Post, raw footage of the trucks preparing to cross the border: