As President Obama and other NATO leaders wrap up a two-day summit today in Chicago, the ongoing dispute with Pakistan over reopening supply routes from that country into Afghanistan threatens to “put a crimp in the Obama administration’s efforts to lay out a clear strategy for winding down the war in Afghanistan,” NPR’s Jackie Northam tells our Newscast desk.
As Jackie adds, Pakistan still hasn’t agreed to let NATO use the routes — which Pakistan closed about six months ago after 24 of its solders were killed by fire directed their way by NATO forces across the boarder in Afghanistan. NATO officials have said there was confusion about whether Pakistani troops were in an area thought to be controlled by militants.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari was invited to the Chicago summit in the hope that an agreement could be reached on the supply routes. But Jackie reports that many details still need to be worked out, including the price-per-truck NATO will pay for access to the routes.
Zardari has also pressed for a “permanent solution” concerning U.S. drone strikes on suspected militants in Pakistan, which have also killed some civilians.
The BBC adds that at the summit, NATO leaders are “expected to endorse plans to hand over combat command to Afghan forces by mid-2013 and seek progress in opening routes for troop withdrawals. They also hope to reach a commitment on who pays how much towards funding Afghan forces after 2014.”
NPR’s Scott Horsley rounded up the news from Chicago for Morning Edition.