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ISLAMABAD | Trucks bearing NATO supplies began flowing again Sunday across a critical border crossing into Afghanistan, opened a day earlier than expected by Pakistan and ending a blockade that had raised tensions between Washington and a key ally.

Pakistan had shut down the Torkham crossing along the Khyber Pass after a U.S. helicopter strike in the border area killed two Pakistani soldiers 11 days ago.

After an apology from top U.S. officials last week, Pakistan announced Saturday that Torkham would be reopened. The crossing is usually closed Sundays, however, and the U.S. had said it did not expect trucks to begin moving again until Monday.

It was not clear whether the decision to allow the vehicles through Sunday was a goodwill gesture by Islamabad or a pragmatic move to relieve the backlog of vehicles that have been stranded along roads in Pakistan and left vulnerable to militant attacks.

During the blockade, about 150 trucks were destroyed and some drivers and police were injured in near-daily attacks that left drivers fearing for their lives and hurt trucking companies’ profits.


Cabinet approves loyalty oath

JERUSALEM | Israel’s mainly right-wing government on Sunday overwhelmingly voted for legislation requiring non-Jewish new citizens to swear allegiance to the country as a Jewish state.

The measure has been widely condemned as racist by Israel’s Arab minority but appeared designed to placate hard-line ministers ahead of a decision to extend a settlement moratorium seen as key to U.S.-backed peace efforts with the Palestinians.

It still has to be approved by parliament before becoming law.


Voters turn out for historic election

OSH | Voters turned out in force Sunday in Kyrgyzstan to choose a new and empowered parliament that the government hopes will usher in an unprecedented era of democracy.

This former Soviet nation, which hosts a vital U.S. air base near Afghanistan, is set to embrace a parliamentary system of governance in a largely untroubled vote that has won praise from the United States.

The vote came after an exhausting year of political turbulence and ethnic violence in the south.

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