Lawmakers praise reopening of Pakistani supply lines

“These supply lines are essential to supporting our troops in Afghanistan and I believe the terms and conditions negotiated by Secretary Clinton’s team are acceptable to American interests throughout the region,” Graham said in a statement.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) said the agreement “will hopefully allow our two nations to put this issue behind us.”

“Our relationship is constantly being tested,” Kerry said in a statement. “We have much to work on together, from fighting terrorism to helping to facilitate a stable Afghanistan. These and other mutual issues of interest and concern should be our focus going forward, despite our differences.”

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Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) said that the reopening of the supply lines was “important because it will help the United States and our allies conduct the planned drawdown of troops in an expeditious and cost-effective manner.”

The dispute over the supply routes into Afghanistan had lingered for months, despite negotiations between the two sides.

Pakistan closed the lines in November after NATO forces killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

The incident was only the latest in a series of escalations between the countries, as Islamabad was furious over U.S. troops entering Pakistani territory for the Osama bin Laden raid, as well as continued drone strikes in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

U.S. officials have expressed their anger at Pakistan for not cracking down on terrorists who have a safe haven there, and members of Congress have placed restrictions on U.S. aid over that issue and the jailing of a doctor who helped the CIA track down bin Laden.

Graham, who hatched the the plan in Congress to dock $1 million in Pakistani aid for each of the 33 years the doctor was jailed, emphasized that the drone attacks Islamabad objects to should not stop as a result of the agreement.

“The drone attacks against terrorist enclaves on the Pakistan side of the border have seriously damaged terrorist networks seeking refuge in the tribal areas, and such attacks must continue,” he said.