The Pentagon is preparing to release about $1.1 billion withheld from Pakistan’s military after Islamabad agreed this week to reopen supply routes into Afghanistan.
Payments were suspended last year amid increased U.S.- Pakistan tensions even before Pakistan closed the land routes into Afghanistan in November as a result of U.S. attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. Pakistan, which had demanded a U.S. apology for the deaths, agreed to reopen the lines after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said “we are sorry” in a statement on June 3.
Asked if Defense Secretary Leon Panetta agreed with Clinton’s statement of “deepest regrets,” Kirby said Panetta “fully supports the approach that was taken.”
While the apology, supply line reopenings and funds transfer were important developments, “it would be a mistake to believe that US-Pak relations are now ‘back on track,’” Alan Kronstadt, a South Asia analyst for the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, said today.
“Disputes over drone strikes, intelligence sharing/cooperation, and the role of the Haqqani Network remain serious and unresolved,” Kronstadt said.