WASHINGTON - A Pentagon spokesman expressed confidence Wednesday that U.S.-Pakistan relations are on the mend, and that Islamabad soon will re-open routes used to supply American troops in Afghanistan.

Pakistan closed two border crossings used by the U.S. military in Chaman and Torkham after a Nov. 26 NATO strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. That was just the latest incident to further escalate tensions between Washington and Islamabad.

The U.S. military has turned to other options, including increasing the use of long and expensive ground routes through Russia, Central Asia, and the Caucuses.

Spokesman George Little told reporters Wednesday he believes the Pakistan supply routes will be re-opened to the U.S. military soon.

He stressed that American forces have “stockpiles” of what they need, describing the troops as “well supplied.”

More broadly, Little also touched on the tense and fragile U.S.-Pakistani relationship, which has been on a downward spiral since American commandos killed Osama bin Laden near Islamabad in early May.

U.S. lawmakers have called on the Obama administration to place strict restrictions on U.S. aid to Pakistan, with some even saying it is time to cut off the flow of American cash to an ally that sometimes defies it openly.

Little repeated Pentagon and Obama administration officials’ description of the partnership as complicated but “essential.”

He said he is “confident” the two reluctant allies can set a fashion a “baseline” in their relationship — but stressed it will take “a little hard work.”