by Richard Leiby, The Washington Post:
Pakistan will allow NATO supply convoys to cross its territory into Afghanistan until the end of 2015, one year beyond the deadline for withdrawal of U.S. combat forces there, under an agreement signed Tuesday by U.S. and Pakistani officials.
The pact seems to close, for now, one of the most contentious chapters in the turbulent relationship between Washington and Islamabad, cementing cooperation by Pakistan in winding down the war in Afghanistan, at least in terms of logistical assistance. Washington also has urged Islamabad to step up its participation in the peace process by bringing to the negotiating table militant groups that shelter in Pakistani’s tribal belt and regularly cross the border to attack NATO troops.
The memorandum of understanding signed Tuesday provides the option for both sides to extend the deal in one-year increments beyond Dec. 31, 2015. It would apply to other NATO nations if they sign separate pacts with Pakistan.
Although Pakistan ended its seven-month blockade of NATO supplies in early July, the pact formalizes some key details, including a ban on transporting lethal equipment unless it is meant for Afghan security forces. It also says that Pakistan will provide security for the thousands of container trucks and oil tankers whose routes originate at the port of Karachi.
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