Pakistan to get up to $1,800 for each NATO truck
* US to pay $365 million more a year to reopen supply lines
Daily Times Monitor
LAHORE: Under a US-Pakistan deal to reopen a key NATO supply route through Pakistan, closed for nearly six months, the US-led coalition will pay Pakistan a still-to-be-fixed fee of $1,500 to $1,800 for each truck carrying supplies, a tab that officials familiar with negotiations estimated would run nearly $1 million a day.
According to a report in McClatchy newspaper, the agreement would raise the cost of the war effort in Afghanistan by about $365 million annually. The accord, which the Pakistani government announced late on Tuesday, would revive the transport of vital supplies of food and equipment from Pakistani ports overland to land-locked Afghanistan, in exchange for the abovementioned fee.
Pakistan closed the land route after a NATO air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November last year. One of the routes being used since the closure is nearly 6,000 miles long. The Pakistan route is less than 500 miles.
According to the newspaper, officials in Washington said they did not know how much of the new cost the US would bear. As the US contributes more than two-thirds of the 130,000-strong international force, it is expected that Washington will pay most of the new fee.
In return, the US is asking Pakistan to provide security for the supplies, and much speedier clearance of customs and checkpoints. Terrorists and robbers frequently attack trucks carrying NATO goods. No effective security had been provided in the past, the paper reported.
“Security is the most important thing we require for swift transportation to be sustained,” said Nadeem Khan, the chief executive of Raaziq International, one of the major Pakistani companies involved in carrying NATO supplies. “That is the least that the (Pakistani) government can provide us as taxpayers.”
Before the Pakistan route was suspended, 30 percent of coalition supplies passed through the country, according to the Pentagon.