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NATO Supply Trucks Head For Afghanistan As Pakistan Reopens Route

Fuel tankers used to carry fuel for NATO forces in Afghanistan stand idle at a compound in Karachi in May.
Trucks carrying NATO supplies are expected to resume trips to Afghanistan on July 4 following Pakistan's decision to end a seven-month blockade.

Islamabad agreed to lift the blockade one day earlier after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered "sincere condolences" to Pakistan over air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.

“They did the right thing to open [the route]," a truck driver in Karachi told RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal. "Now they should ensure its safety, and only the army can ensure the safety. Neither the police nor the security [forces] can do that."

Another driver, emphasizing the financial losses accrued during the seven-month blockade, told Mashaal that many of the hauliers didn't even have the money to return to their homes to sit out the suspension with their families.

PHOTO GALLERY: Hardship for hauliers as Pakistan's embargo on the NATO supply routes kept them waiting for a green light to resume their work:

Islamabad had closed the supply routes in response to the botched strikes and made their reopening conditional on a U.S. apology.

The blockade had forced NATO to rely on longer, more expensive northern routes to Afghanistan through Russia and Central Asia.

U.S. officials said they expected supply trucks to begin crossing into Afghanistan within the next 24 hours.

The Pakistani Taliban, meanwhile, threatened to attack NATO trucks if they tried to resume supplies to troops in Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by AP and RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal