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'Pak unlikely to re- open NATO supply route on Afghanistan border soon'

December 15, 2011 - Kabul

US allied commander in Afghanistan has said his country's efforts to repair ties with Pakistan had led to a 'moderate' progress but there is no indication that Islamabad would re- open crucial supply routes soon.

"Although it was cordial, it was a very businesslike conversation between two generals, and in the end both of us were committed to working that issue. I do have a sense of progress," The Washington Post quoted U.S. and NATO troops Commander in Afghanistan Marine General John R. Allen, as saying.

His statement came after he telephoned Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani for the first time since November 26 raid.

Pakistan had earlier sealed NATO supply route across its border with Afghanistan, after 28 soldiers were killed in an airstrike in Mohmand Agency on November 26.

Allen said though US-Pak ties were "chilled", Kayani has hinted that he would likely reinstate Pakistan liaison officers who had been assigned joint border communication posts.

Allen said he did not touch upon the issue of closing of key border crossings, and the move has not severely affected the coalition's ability to supply its forces in Afghanistan till now.

Allen said he was mindful of Pakistani sensitivities and would not publicly persuade Islamabad to re- open the border, and the move would be a "Pakistani decision."llen also said the pace of withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan depended on the outcome of a broad strategy review led by him but the United States is committed to withdraw all forces from the country by the end of 2014.


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