WASHINGTON - The United States is withdrawing its team of negotiators from Pakistan without securing a long-sought deal with Islamabad to allow trucks to again supply NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Monday.
But no breakthrough was imminent and there was no scheduled time for a resumption of the negotiations, Little said.
Pakistan shut its border to NATO supply convoys in November after a US air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Members of the team started to leave over the weekend and the remainder of the negotiators would soon return to the United States. The comments came after Pakistan’s Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani refused last week to meet US assistant defence secretary Peter Lavoy, who traveled to Pakistan to try to resolve the dispute.
The roads through Pakistan are a crucial logistical link for NATO as it plans a large-scale withdrawal of combat troops and equipment by the end of 2014.
But US officials have so far rejected Pakistani proposals to charge steep fees of several thousand dollars for each alliance truck crossing the border.
Washington has also refused to issue an explicit apology for the lethal air raid.
The stalled negotiations also coincide with remarks last Thursday by US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, in which he accused Islamabad of failing to crack down on Haqqani insurgents operating inside Pakistan and attacking US-led troops in neighboring Afghanistan.