MOU opens Afghan supply routes for NATO

Aug. 1, 2012 at 10:33 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- A U.S. deal with Pakistan for the transit of cargo to and from Afghanistan represents a shared commitment to the country, a U.S. official said.

The U.S. and Pakistani governments signed a memorandum of understanding that opens transit routes for NATO forces in Afghanistan. Mark Stroh, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, said the deal represents Washington's respect for Pakistani sovereignty.

"It also underscores our shared commitment to support Afghanistan and regional stability," he said in a statement. "We are committed to working together with Pakistan toward these goals on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect."

The deal allows NATO convoys to pass through Pakistani territory to Afghanistan through 2015.

Ties were strained between Washington and Islamabad following the U.S. raid in Pakistan in 2011 that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Pakistan closed supply routes in early 2012 in response to cross-border shooting incidents.

"Our countries should have a relationship that is enduring, strategic, and carefully defined, and that enhances the security and prosperity of both our nations and the region," said Stroh.

NATO forces are looking to wind down their mission in Afghanistan by 2014, when national security forces are expected to take the responsibility of securing the country.

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