Islamabad, July 31: Pakistan on Tuesday signed an agreement with United States to effectively regulate NATO supplies into Afghanistan, which had been restored early this month after a seven-month blockade.
US charge d'affaires Richard Hoagland and additional defence secretary Rear Admiral Farrokh Ahmad signed the agreement on behalf of their respective governments. Defence ministry officials said that the agreement will be effective until December 31, 2015, adding that it can be extended for one more year after consultations.
Hoagland welcomed the agreement as a "demonstration of increased transparency and openness" between the two governments and said $1.1 billion owed to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund will be released following the signing of the agreement.
Under the agreement, no lethal cargo will go into Afghanistan except equipment for Afghan national security forces (ANSF), essential for ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan
Pakistan will also provide facilities for the security and quick transfer of the cargo and will keep the US government informed about the monitoring and transit points of the cargo. Containers travelling to Afghanistan will be bound to return via Pakistan.
Pakistan's Defence Ministry will act as a Central Coordination Authority and review the daily operations and implementation of the supply route. Officials from both countries will meet once every two months to evaluate the implementation of the agreement.
Pakistan had shut its supply routes from the borders towns of Torkham in the northwest and Chaman in the southwest and asked the US to vacate the remote southwestern Shamsi airbase after the NATO air strike in November last year which killed 24 soldiers.
Pakistan had agreed to re-open the supply route after a formal apology by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton over the November strikes.
Ties between Pakistan and US noseddvised after US Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in May last year without informing Pakistani authorities in advance of the raid and later accusing the powerful intelligence agency ISI of complicity and incompetence.