WASHINGTON: The US continues military dialogue with Pakistan despite recent serious setbacks because the US-Pakistani relationship is very important, the Pentagon has said.
The US has conducted "a thorough investigation" into the border incident in late November, in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a NATO air strike near the Afghanistan border, and "expressed our deepest regret to the Pakistani people," Xinhua quoted spokesperson George Little as saying.
"We have acknowledged and take responsibility for the mistakes we made on Nov. 25-26," he said, adding that the US has also offered to compensate the families of those killed and wounded in the incident.
Despite the US moves to remedy the relations damaged by the attack, ground supply routes through Pakistan remained closed to coalition forces in Afghanistan. "We are hopeful that our Pakistani partners will reopen the ground supply routes," he said.
After Pakistan closed the ground supply routes following the air strike in November, supplies to the NATO troops in Afghanistan have been transferred through air routes and through the northern distribution network.
"The relationship with Pakistan is important on many levels. They're an important partner, and we cooperate with them on counterterrorism and other efforts," Little said.
"That being said, we know there have been rough patches, particularly over the past year," he added. "But it remains an essential relationship, and we're committed to improving that relationship over time."