Pakistan Reopens Supply Routes After Rare Apology from Clinton

July 4, 2012

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker, III participate in a “Conversation on Diplomacy, Moderated by Charlie Rose” at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on June 20, 2012.

Pakistan has agreed to reopen important supply routes to American and NATO forces in Afghanistan following a rare public apology from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In a phone conversation on Tuesday, Clinton apologized to Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar for an errant U.S. airstrike last November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

“We are both sorry for losses suffered by both our countries in this fight against terrorists,” Clinton said in a statement.

The incident occurred when American and NATO forces mistook Pakistani forces for insurgent fighters and opened fire. In retaliation, Islamabad closed off supply routes in Pakistan that have been used by coalition forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

While the White House and the Pentagon have repeatedly expressed their regret for the air raid, no one from the Obama administration had formally or informally apologized for the attack until Tuesday.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta welcomed Pakistan’s decision, indicating it was a sign of an improving partnership between Islamabad and Washington, but he did not issue an apology of his own.

“I welcome Pakistan’s decision to open the ground lines of communication. As I have made clear, we remain committed to improving our partnership with Pakistan and to working closely together as our two nations confront common security challenges in the region,” Panetta said in a statement.

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