`US, Pak to decide on NATO routes in few days`

The US and Pakistan have made "real progress" in reopening of the closed NATO supply routes to Afghanistan, said Tom Donilon.

Washington: The United States and Pakistan have made "real progress" in reopening of the closed NATO supply routes to Afghanistan, a top Obama aide on Thursday said, hoping that the decision in this regard could be made in the next few days.

Addressing a crowded news conference at the White House, US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon said the two countries - the US and Pakistan - have taken a decision to conclude the negotiations in this regard.

Though Donilon did not say this, yet US officials exuded confidence that the announcement in this regard would be made either before or during the NATO Summit that begins in Chicago on Sunday.

Leaders from more than 60 countries are attending the Chicago meeting, the main focus of which would be Afghanistan and the role of the international community post 2014.

President Barack Obama would hold his first bilateral meeting in Chicago with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai on Saturday.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari would also attend the Chicago summit.

Though no bilateral meeting has been scheduled yet, Obama and Zardari would have opportunities to meet during the NATO summit, Donilon said.

Donilon told reporters that NATO summit would focus on Afghanistan and concretising the role of the US and the international community in Afghanistan post 2014.

The top Obama advisor said the alliance would decide that in 2013 its mission in Afghanistan would shift from being in the combat lead to training and advice mode.

The meeting would also discuss on structure and sustainability of the Afghan security forces post 2014.

Noting that the cost of maintain Afghan forces is going to be USD 4 billion per annum, Donilon said as many as 30 countries have committed to supporting it.

In fact, some of the countries like Britain, and Germany has already made announcement in this regard.