Pakistan said Thursday it has not decided when to reopen a key border crossing NATO uses to ship supplies to Afghanistan despite a U.S. apology for a helicopter attack that killed two Pakistani soldiers.
A suspected U.S. missile strike, meanwhile, killed three people in a northwestern Pakistan tribal region along the border, the latest in a surge of such attacks on militant strongholds, intelligence officials said.
Both the U.S. and NATO expressed their condolences Wednesday for the Sept. 30 attack and said American helicopters mistook the Pakistani soldiers for insurgents being pursued across the border from Afghanistan.
The apologies raised expectations that the Torkham border crossing along the famed Khyber Pass could reopen very soon. But Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said at a news conference Thursday that authorities were still evaluating the situation and would make a decision “in due course.”
The delay could be short-lived because U.S. and Pakistani officials predicted the border crossing would be reopened in a matter of days even before the apologies were issued.
Pakistan closed Torkham to NATO supply convoys on the same day as the attack, leaving hundreds of trucks stranded alongside the country’s highways or stuck in traffic on the way to the one route into Afghanistan from the south that has remained open.
Suspected militants have taken advantage of the impasse to attack stranded or rerouted trucks. Gunmen torched 70 fuel tankers and killed a driver in two attacks Wednesday.
The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, said in a statement Wednesday that “we extend our deepest apology to Pakistan and the families of the Frontier Scouts who were killed and injured.”
The U.S. and NATO issued apologies after their investigation found that the Pakistani soldiers fired at the two U.S. helicopters before the attack, likely trying to notify the aircraft of their presence after the helicopters entered Pakistani airspace several times.
Source: Sebastian Abbot for The Associated Press.
Pakistan said Thursday it has not decided when to reopen a key border crossing…
by Tactical-Life.com / Oct 8, 2010