`NATO routes to bring financial benefits for Pak`

A top British commander in Afghanistan on Wednesday said Islamabad too could derive financial benefits out of it.

Washington: With the US engaged in tough negotiations with Pakistan over the reopening of NATO`s supply routes, a top British commander in Afghanistan today said Islamabad too could derive financial benefits out of it.

British Army Lieutenant General, Adrian Bradshaw, who is also the Deputy Commander of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, told reporters during a Pentagon news conference here that the Taliban`s momentum has been reversed and the Taliban commanders are increasingly feeling under pressure with lack of weapons and equipment and finance.

Bradshaw said while the ISAF had still to deal with the threat of the Haqqani network, the effort of the Afghan national security forces and the NATO coalition had succeeded in curtailing the Taliban threat.

On the issue of the crucial NATO supply routes closed down by Pakistan following a cross-border strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, Bradshaw said talks were on with the Pakistanis.

"Clearly, the Pakistanis would derive some financial benefit from that as well," he said.

The British Army Commander, however, did not tell how much financially Pakistan would benefit from the reopening of the crucial NATO supply routes, which were closed by Pakistan following the November 26 tragedy.

However, sources familiar with the discussion said Pakistan is believed to have sought USD 2,500 per truck with NATO supplies moving out of its territory to Pakistan.

The United States is believed to have agreed to it, but there are other issues including an apology -- that is preventing Pakistan from reopening of the routes.

"We are currently in talks with our Pakistan colleagues on how we might get those routes open. Clearly we`re managing very well without them, but on the other hand, it would be extremely helpful for us if we had access to them," Bradshaw said.

"And clearly, the Pakistanis would derive some financial benefit from that as well. So between us, we hope to get through the problems that we`ve encountered which caused the closure, which were highly regrettable, and get back on an even keel... And things are moving in the right direction there," Bradshaw said.

He said in 2011, the Taliban`s ability to deliver attacks on the ground in Afghanistan had reduced by just under 10 per cent, and a similar trend was being witnessed this year.
"We get reliable reporting of Taliban commanders feeling under pressure, with lack of weapons of and equipment, with lack of finance," he said.