The AP report:
Pakistan’s defense minister said Tuesday that the country should reopen its Afghan border crossings to NATO troop supplies after negotiating a better deal with the coalition.
Pakistan closed the crossings over two months ago in response to American airstrikes that accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at two Afghan border posts. The closure has forced the United States to spend six times as much money to send supplies to Afghanistan through alternative routes.
You can frame this two ways:
- The U.S. is spending an exorbitant sum to send supplies through the NDN (read: Uzbekistan), so therefore everything is a failure and the silence will fall; or
- The expansion of the NDN (read: Uzbekistan) has created sufficient political space and pressure on Pakistan that they’re finally willing to climb down and play ball on transit routs and other issues.
Of course, both frames are true, at least to a degree. In the current status quo it’s unlikely Pakistan will agree to much more than allowing the transit routes to reopen (not coincidentally further enriching the Pakistani military-run trucking mafia along the way), just as it’s unlikely paying even $87 million more per month for transit costs through Central Asia will bankrupt the U.S.
From the U.S. government’s perspective, however, they’re now getting movement out of Islamabad, and that’s really what they want. Mission accomplished, then?