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Pakistan Says It Will Reopen Afghan Crossing, But Route Still Closed


Passengers sit on the roof of a bus near burning oil tankers on a highway near Shikarpur, Pakistan, on October 1.

Passengers sit on the roof of a bus near burning oil tankers on a highway near Shikarpur, Pakistan, on October 1.

Pakistan's ambassador to the United States has said Pakistan intends to reopen a key border crossing that is used to resupply NATO forces in Afghanistan.

But news reports today said the Torkham border crossing remained closed to NATO supplies bound for Afghanistan despite that pledge.

Pakistan closed the crossing in the Khyber Pass on September 30 after NATO helicopters killed three Pakistani troops on the Pakistani side of the border.

NATO has said the helicopters acted in self-defense after coming under fire from someone shooting from the ground in Pakistan.

Husain Haqqani, the Pakistani ambassador in Washington, told CNN that authorities ordered the border closure for security reasons due to public outrage over the killing of the Pakistani troops.

He said the supply convoys would get moving again after security was ensured.

Gunmen on October 1 attacked and set fire to more than 25 trucks in southern Pakistan that were preparing to carry fuel and supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the NATO helicopter intrusions and vowed that Pakistan would consider "other options" if such incidents were repeated in the future.

"We will never allow you to interfere in Pakistan's sovereignty and integrity, and if you do not explain your action, or if you do not compensate for it or apologize for it, we may consider other options, too," Gilani told parliament. “We do have other options."

Pakistan has formally protested the intrusions to officials at NATO headquarters in Brussels, and Gilani said NATO officials have apologized.

compiled from agency reports

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