- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Pakistan’s Zardari to attend NATO summit in Chicago
Reopening of Afghan supply line eyed
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will attend the NATO summit, which begins Sunday in Chicago, his office said Wednesday, signaling that a deal is close on reopening alliance supply routes into landlocked Afghanistan from Pakistani ports.
“Pakistan recognizes that the future of Afghanistan is being discussed [in Chicago]. They want to be at the table, and the price of being at the table is to find some resolution to this [supply-route] issue,” said Marvin Weinbaum, a former Pakistan and Afghanistan analyst at the State Department and now a scholar at the Middle East Institute.
Officials said the unusual, last-minute invitation to a non-member nation also underlines Pakistan’s vital role in the allied exit strategy for Afghanistan, and the alliance’s determination to expand its partnerships with non-member states. NATO invited Mr. Zardari on Tuesday.
“This meeting will underline the strong commitment of the international community to the people of Afghanistan and to its future. Pakistan has an important role to play in that future,” said NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu.
NATO leaders “want to signal [to Pakistan] that they understand very well that any realistic transition plan depends on Pakistan,” said James Goldgeier, a national security official under former President Bill Clinton and now a scholar at American University.
Several NATO members are expected to announce financial commitments for aid to Afghanistan, Mr. Goldgeier added. He cautioned, however, that “no country is really in a position to make firm budgetary commitments” beyond 2014, given the deteriorating fiscal state of governments on both sides of the Atlantic.
“There’s going to be tremendous [budgetary] pressure to do less, spend less in Afghanistan, whatever commitments are made [in Chicago],” he said.
Pakistani officials previously had indicated that, in return for reopening the supply routes, they wanted an apology for the November helicopter attack and an overhaul of or an end to deadly CIA drone strikes against al Qaeda leaders in their tribal sanctuary.
Fees, not concessions
Now they appear to realize they will get no U.S. concessions and are instead negotiating with NATO over a fee the alliance will pay for using the supply routes.
U.S. and Pakistani officials “may find some way to finesse this issue, but [the U.S. is] not going to stop the drone strikes, and there won’t be an apology [for the border attack] as such,” said Mr. Weinbaum.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
- Russia's neighbors shiver amid Putin's Cold War moves in Ukraine
- Israelis had U.S. help in intercepting Iranian missile shipment to Palestine
- Obama warns U.S. may retaliate against Russia with economic sanctions
- Spread of brutal Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram alarms U.S.
- State Department report shows human rights at risk
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Vietnam says it may have found door of missing Malaysian jet as intel look into stolen passports
- EDITORIAL: Senate rejects Adegbile for Justice post
- 'Blarney Blowout' near UMass results in 73 arrests; 4 officers injured
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Gates: Obama strategy won't stop Putin
- CPAC 2014 straw poll results
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again