NATO: Pakistan talking again to US-led coalition
KABUL / ISLAMABAD
Activists of Pakistan Sunni Tehreek (ST) set fire to the portraits of US President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. AFP photoVoicing cautious optimism, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan said Tuesday that he’s seeing signs of a possible lifting of Pakistan’s communications blackout imposed on the U.S.-led coalition after NATO airstrikes killed two dozen Pakistani forces last month.
Marine Gen. John Allen revealed for the first time that he spoke on the phone Dec. 12 with Pakistan army chief Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, their first conversation since just after the airstrikes, Associated Press reported. Allen said they both expressed a commitment to work through the incident and try to restore coordination between their forces along the border. “I do have a sense of progress,” Allen told reporters at a news briefing at Camp Eggers in Kabul, describing the phone call as businesslike and cordial.
He added that he believes Pakistan will soon restore its liaison officers, who were pulled after the Nov. 26 incident, to border coordination centers or NATO headquarters in Kabul. Allen said the two did not discuss when Pakistan would reopen its border crossings to NATO convoys transporting supplies for troops in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, his office said Pakistan’s president will be discharged from hospital in Dubai on Thursday, his office said. Yesterday’s statement did not say when Asif Ali Zardari would be returning home, and thus may not end speculation that the embattled leader is losing his grip on power. The statement did not specify the cause of the president’s weeklong illness, but a close associate has said he suffered a “mini-stroke.” Zardari’s illness and his sudden trip abroad have triggered rumors that the 56-year-old leader could be set to resign, or even be ousted in a military coup.