Washington: Pakistan is preparing to open the crucial NATO supply route to Afghanistan, a top US commander based in Afghanistan has said, noting that there were signs of improvement in bilateral ties.
"There have been in the last several days, some very important signals coming out of Islamabad that there is a consideration to re-open the ground lines of communication, and we, frankly, would welcome that, we would applaud that decision," General John Allen, commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said.
"It would, in fact, be helpful to us if the ground lines of communication were opened, not just because of what could flow into Afghanistan but what could flow out of Afghanistan," Allen said in his address by video conference to the sixth annual 2012 Joint Warfighting Conference, in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Allen acknowledged that the relationship between US and Pakistan have been hit after the November 26 incident in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a cross border fire, following which Islamabad closed the crucial NATO supply route.
"I will tell you the effect of the closure of that route on the campaign has not slowed us at all. The air bridge into Afghanistan and the flow of materiel across the Northern Distribution Network were modulated in a way that continued to support the campaign in every operational respect," Allen said.
The top US Commander said that there has been a general review by the Pakistani Parliament of relations with the United States and some very hopeful signs.
"I would say that over the next several months, we may well see, between ISAF and the Afghan national security forces and the Pakistani military, an ability to work very closely to ensure that we can coordinate operations along the border," Allen said.
In his remarks, Gen Allen said many of the nations that are helping support the Afghan people in their fight against the Taliban will continue to help the country long after their active combat has ended.
He described how most ISAF nations are establishing their own bilateral agreements to assist the Afghan government beyond the fighting.
"We will keep our commitment to the afghan national forces beyond 2014," Allen said of the planned end of ISAF combat operations.
The bilateral relationships will ensure continued training, advising and mentoring of the Afghan force.
Ultimately, the goal is to have the Afghan army carry out all counterinsurgency operations and allow the police to focus on traditional police issues, the general offered.
"The police should be able to move from being the trailing edge of counterinsurgency to being the leading edge of law enforcement and justice," he stated.
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