Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has officially apologized to the nation of Pakistan after the U.S. killed 24 Pakistanis in November in an airstrike gone awry—leading the Pakistanis to reopen supply lines to U.S. troops in Afghanistan, which will make it much quicker and cheaper to transport supplies.
For the past seven months, the U.S. has had to incur costs of an additional $100 million a month because it had to take longer, winding routes to Afghanistan through Russia and Central Asia. Pakistan has been waiting for the apology for months, but the Obama administration has been reluctant to issue one in an election year, fearful of the Republican line of attack.
Clinton had a conversation with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and expressed her condolences for the death, though she stopped short of aologizing for the incident itself, which severely damaged already strained relations between the two countries.
“We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military,” Clinton said in a statement, recounting her discussion with Khar. “I offered our sincere condolences to the families of the Pakistani soldiers who lost their lives. Foreign Minister Khar and I acknowledged the mistakes that resulted in the loss of Pakistani military lives.”
CBS News has reported that at least 7,000 truckloads of equipment bound for the U.S. military in Afghanistan have been stranded in Pakistan. Now that the supply lines have been reopened, Pentagon officials estimate it will take about two months to clear that backlog which stretches some 900 miles from the border to the port of Karachi.