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Pakistan roads

NATO fuel tankers stranded in Karachi, Pakistan.
Published: July 26, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Much like the 900-mile highway that links the heaving port of Karachi with the storied Khyber Pass on the Afghan border, the United States’ relationship with Pakistan this year has been winding and strewed with unexpected hazards.

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Left, Anjum Naveed/Associated Press; right, Asim Hafeez/Bloomberg News
Thomas R. Nides, left, and Abdul Hafeez Shaikh helped end an impasse.
After months of painful negotiations that reached a formal conclusion this week, that road has reopened to NATO supply traffic and the broader diplomatic relationship has wobbled back on track — at least for now.

On Wednesday, the Pakistani cabinet approved a 10-page document that sets the terms for NATO transit traffic, codifying a political deal that was struck in early July and that broke a seven-month deadlock that had stranded more than 11,000 military shipping containers bound for Afghanistan.

The Pakistanis received an American apology for the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers in American airstrikes in November — and other, more tangible benefits. The United States will transfer $1.1 billion in delayed military aid in the coming days, giving an urgent lift to an ailing economy. The Americans have also promised to refurbish 130 miles of Pakistani road.

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