US leaves table at NATO route talks

US leaves table at NATO route talks

US leaves table at NATO route talks

Protesters shout anti-US slogans during a rally in Karachi in this photo. Pakistan and the US were unable to reach an agreement to re-open the closed NATO route. AFP photo

The United States has withdrawn negotiators from Pakistan after talks failed to reopen vital NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, officials said June 11.

The move signaled further strain in troubled Pakistani-U.S. relations and followed harsh criticism last week from U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that saw Pakistan’s army chief refuse to meet a senior Pentagon official. The negotiators had been in Pakistan for about six weeks, as U.S. officials believed they were close to a deal with Islamabad to lift the blockade.

Pakistan shut its border to NATO supply convoys on November 26 after a botched U.S. air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. But no breakthrough was imminent and there was no scheduled date for a resumption of the talks, Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters.

“The decision was reached to bring the team home for a short period of time,” Agence France-Presse quoted Little as saying. But Washington has not given up on discussions with Islamabad, he said.


ISLAMABAD – The Associated Press

A controversial Pakistani judicial investigation has found that the country’s former ambassador to the U.S. did indeed write a letter to American officials requesting their help in reining in the powerful army last year, a lawyer and the state media said yesterday. The finding could lead to treason charges against the envoy and add to pressures on President Asif Ali Zardari. Ex-envoy Hussein Haqqani has denied any role in authoring the memo, and said in a statement the commission report was “political and one-sided.” The scandal pitted the weak civilian government against the army, and drew in other the feuding power brokers in Pakistan, the Supreme Court, the opposition and the media.