Pakistan reopens Afghan border crossing NATO uses

Pakistan reopened a key border crossing toNATO supply convoys heading into Afghanistan on Sunday, ending an 11-day blockade imposed after a U.S. helicopter strike killed two Pakistani soldiers.

The closing of the Torkham crossing to NATO vehicles stranded many fuel tankers at parking lots and on highways where they were vulnerable to militant attacks. More than 150 trucks were destroyed and some drivers and police were wounded in the near-daily attacks.

The reopening of the northwest crossing came four days after the U.S. apologized for the Sept. 30 helicopter attack, saying the pilots mistook the soldiers for insurgents being pursuing across the border fromAfghanistan.

“I am very happy that our difficult days have finally ended and we are through now,” driver Khan Rehman told The Associated Press minutes before he drove the first truck into Afghanistan just after noon. “I am thankful to the government of Pakistan for ending our hardship.”

By early afternoon, around 10 vehicles had crossed into Afghanistan through Torkham and authorities were working to clear hundreds that had been stranded for days, said customs official Ataur Rehman.

“We have cleared a bunch of oil tankers and containers after customs formalities, and the first few vehicles have already crossed the border,” said Rehman.