Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In AFGHANISTAN, " It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over "

The great Yogi Berra once said, " It ain't over 'til it's over "
That seems to be the mantra for all things Afghanistan....

IF the enclosed news story isn't the surest sign that the 2014 "yap-yap" about Afghanistan is as worthless as any other promise made by a Politician, I'll be shocked.  There are lies and then there are damned lies. 

If the POLS would just be straight up about things, it would be so much less painful for all involved.

We need to be here  in Afghanistan for the Afghan people, our own defense interests and as a stabilizing force in the region.

No my dear friends, this game is going into extra innings....and then some.

U.S., Pakistan sign deal to allow supply routes through 2015
By Richard Leiby, Tuesday, July 31, WASHINGTON POST

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan will allow NATO supply convoys to cross its territory into Afghanistan until the end of 2015, one year beyond the deadline for withdrawal of U.S. combat forces there, under an agreement signed on Tuesday by U.S. and Pakistani officials.

The pact seems to close, for now, one of the most contentious chapters in the long-turbulent relationship between Washington and Islamabad, cementing cooperation by Pakistan in winding down the war in Afghanistan at least in terms of logistical assistance. Washington also has urged Islamabad to step up its participation in the peace process by bringing to the negotiating table militant groups that shelter in Pakistani’s tribal belt and regularly cross the border to attack NATO troops.

The so-called “memorandum of understanding” signed on Tuesday also provides the option for both sides to extend the deal in one-year intervals beyond Dec. 31, 2015. And it would apply to other NATO nations if they sign separate pacts with Pakistan.

Although Pakistan ended its seven-month blockade of NATO supplies earlier this month, the pact formalizes some key details, including a ban on transporting lethal supplies. And it lays out security arrangements Pakistan will provide for the thousands of container trucks and oil tankers whose routes originate at the port of Karachi.

Last week, after the war-provisioning convoys began rolling in significant numbers, Pakistan once again shut down the routes when a trucker was fatally shot in an attack attributed to the Pakistani Taliban, which has vowed to kill anyone who drives for NATO.

Pakistani officials said Tuesday that the convoys would resume only after the routes – which span hundreds of miles -- are suitably protected. Under the new arrangement, police in cities and towns would handle security until the convoys reach the restive tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, where nation’s paramilitary Frontier Corps would take over.

The pact was signed in a ceremony at Rawalpindi by a senior Pakistani defense ministry official, Rear Admiral Farrokh Ahmed, and the U.S. Embassy Chargé d'Affaires, Richard Hoagland.
The agreement formalizes the verbal agreements that the United States reached in the past with Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s most recent military ruler, who was forced into exile in 2008 after civilians took power.

Musharraf was able to set foreign policy and forge alliances as he saw fit. The deal he struck in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was a quid pro quo: Pakistan would cooperate in the war against terrorism, including allow the U.S. supply routes, in exchange for billions in aid.

The U.S. eventually designated Pakistan a “major non-NATO ally,” but that alliance, severely tested by the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden, essentially collapsed after a U.S. airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at Afghan border posts last November.

The signed agreement is significant in that it appears to have been reached with the absence of overt Pakistani military involvement, U.S. officials have said the Pakistani generals stood back to allow civilian leaders to negotiate the pact, which proved to be a slow, politicized and unwieldy process.

Some Pakistani officials have described the NATO route agreement as a watershed moment, signaling that the “one phone call” days of Washington-Islamabad relations are over, and a sign that civilian rulers, for all their struggles in solving the nation’s social and economic ills, now have a voice in foreign policy.

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