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Why Pakistan still hasn't reopened NATO supply lines

The government of Pakistan is facing domestic political pressure to keep NATO's supply routes to Afghanistan closed, while the US resists apologizing or paying a high per truck fee.

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After receiving a last-minute invite to today's NATO summit in Chicago, Pakistan still has not come to a deal with the US to reopen supply lines for the Afghan war. 

"We are close to a solution, but still have some way to go," says Fawad Chaudhury, the spokesperson for Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

The closed route has been a bone of contention between the US and Pakistan ever since NATO forces attacked two military checkpoints in Salala, along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers and injuring an additional 13. In response to the attack, the Pakistanis shut down the supply routes running through their territory, forcing NATO to use air transport and ground routes through Central Asia instead.

In the run-up to today's Chicago summit, the Pakistani government has faced countervailing pressures, with NATO and Washington pushing Pakistan to reopen the supply lines, and domestic opposition parties pushing to keep them closed. A gradual democratization of Pakistan's foreign policy – once the preserve of the military – has added many voices across the political spectrum into the debate over the NATO supply routes.


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