The U.S. finally buckled to the inevitable and issued an apology to Pakistan for killing twenty-four of its troops in a Nato airstrike last year. Pakistan has reciprocated and re-opened the key supply lines into Afghanistan which had been closed for seven months – without charging any additional transit fees.
The seven month logjam was always in both nations’ interests to break – The U.S. and it’s allies need those logistic routes for withdrawal now, far more than for resupply, and Pakistan was facing the cut-off of all U.S. aid if it didn’t re-open them. But still, the first face-saving step had to come from America and one has to wonder why it took seven long months before it was taken. What a way to run a war. Was there an actual reason, one that makes some kind of rational sense, rather than simple bullish intransigence? Perhaps the thought was that if an apology was issued too early then it would only encourage Pakistan, the very definition of a dodgy ally, to increase its demands and be more pushy knowing it had the U.S. over a logistic barrel. We haven’t heard any particular strategy explained by U.S. officials, though, so one is left with the distinct impression it was sheer bloody obstinacy – which would be especially stupid given that it’s obvious to anyone that Pakistan really does have the U.S. and NATO over a logistical barrel. Unless those routes stay open, there is no way on earth a withdrawal of the bulk of NATO forces from Afghanistan happens in 2014 without descending into a chaotic, very publicly embarassing, clusterfuck. Pakistan’s generals can figure that out as easily as anyone else.