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'NATO supply route blockage reflects fragile US-Pak ties'

April 06, 2011 11:55 IST

The temporary suspension of the crucial North Atlantic Treaty Organisation supply route to Afghanistan by Islamabad last year in response to incursions by allied forces and the Davis Raymond episode reflects the fragile nature of the United States-Pakistan relationship, the Obama administration said in a new report.

"Pakistan's decision in October to temporarily stop the flow of NATO and International Security Assistance Force supplies into Afghanistan in response to NATO and ISAF helicopter incursions that killed three Pakistani Frontier Scouts reflect the still-fragile nature of our partnership," US President Barack Obama said in the report to the Congress.

Obama said there were some setbacks to the overall relationship in the last quarter of 2010 but "tensions abated relatively quickly". "On September 30, an accidental engagement by an US helicopter against a Frontier Scouts unit resulted in a temporary pause in military cooperation as the incident was investigated; tensions abated relatively quickly," the report said.

"While regrettable, the reaction from the senior Pakistan military leadership was far less dramatic and severe than in previous cross-border mishaps and created an opportunity to discuss bilaterally how to prevent similar incidents in the future," Obama said.

"Militants also used the temporary cessation of US traffic at the Tokay border crossing to attack NATO supply shipments that were awaiting passage to Afghanistan," he said in the third-quarterly report to the Congress on Afghanistan and Pakistan sent on Tuesday.

The '2010 Afghanistan-Pakistan Annual Review' includes an evaluation of the progress made during the period of this report, which marked the full deployment of the US troop "surge" to Afghanistan that he announced in December 2009, ABMs said in a letter to the Congressional leaders.

He said in spite of strains on the relationship stemming from the detention of US official Raymond in Lahore, bilateral military cooperation between the two countries continues on a positive trajectory.
Lalit K Jha Washington
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