NATO chief urges Pak to keep Afghan transit lines open

KABUL: (MEP) – NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged Pakistan on Monday to keep open supply lines to NATO forces in Afghanistan in spite of anger over a US drone strike that killed the Pakistani Taliban leader.

Pakistan said on Sunday it would review its relationship with the United States after Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed two days earlier in North Waziristan, near the Afghan border.

“I feel confident that the Pakistani authorities will maintain open supply routes and transit routes because it is in Pakistan’s own interest to contribute positively to stability and security in the region,” Rasmussen told a news conference.

Pakistan is the main route to supply US troops in landlocked Afghanistan with everything from food and drinking water to fuel. Any closure could be a serious disruption as US and other Western forces prepare to withdraw most of their troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year.

Rasmussen declined to comment on the drone strike that killed Mehsud but appeared to lend support to US actions, saying “terrorism constitutes a threat to the whole region”.

He said he believed the Pakistani authorities, including the government and the military, realized it was in Islamabad’s interest to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“The security of Afghanistan and Pakistan is inter-linked. There can’t be security in the one country without security in the other,” he said.—Reuters

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