May 23 - NATO says communications are improving with Pakistan over crucial supply routes into Afghanistan that have been closed since a cross-border raid killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last year. Lindsey Parietti reports.
Truck drivers sit idly by their rigs. A common scene in Karachi since Pakistan closed supply routes to Afghanistan over a November NATO raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. NATO has so far failed to persuade Pakistan to reopen its territory to aid its troop withdrawal plan. But there are signs of progress and a NATO spokesman in Afghanistan said communication is improving. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRIGADIER GENERAL CARSTEN JACOBSON, ISAF SPOKESMAN, SAYING: "Pakistan is a vital player in the area it is not only a question of ground lines communication. It is the entire question of fighting the insurgency, of denying the insurgency safe haven, of denying the insurgents area of operation that we need to deal together." While economic and political relations are at stake, the raid provoked intense anger in Pakistan. (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) PRIVATE COMPANY EMPLOYEE, GHULAM ABBAS, SAYING: "Why should Pakistan resume the supplies? The U.S. has not taken a single step; they have not even apologized. Earlier, Pakistan talked big, saying they would open the supply only after an apology from the U.S.. I do not understand why they should open the supply line at this time." The U.S. has said it regretted the troop deaths but has not officially apologized or stopped drone strikes in the country. Lindsey Parietti, Reuters