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It’s unclear if they will try to prevent Saeed from attending the protest.

Difah-e-Pakistan is widely believed to be supported by the Pakistani army as a way to put pressure on the U.S. Its leaders have vowed to stop NATO trucks from making the journey from the southern port city of Karachi to the Afghan border. But if the group has army backing, it could moderate its actions.

Although the army was outraged by the U.S. attack on its troops, which Washington said was an accident, it was eager to repair the relationship to free up more than $1 billion in military aid that had been frozen for the past year.

The U.S. waited so long to apologize in part because the Obama administration was apparently worried such a move would expose it to criticism from Republicans in a presidential election year. Many U.S. officials and lawmakers harbor deep suspicions of Pakistan, citing the country’s alleged support for militants fighting U.S. troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

While the supply line through Pakistan was closed, the U.S. was forced to rely on a longer, more costly route that runs into Afghanistan through Central Asia. The route cost the U.S. an extra $100 million per month.

The U.S. also wanted to resolve the conflict because it needs Pakistan’s help to strike a peace deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan so that American troops can withdraw without the country descending into further chaos. Pakistan is seen as key to an agreement because of its strong historical ties with the Taliban and its allies.

Abbot reported from Islamabad. Associated Press writer Zarar Khan in Islamabad and Bradley Klapper in Tokyo contributed to this report.