ISLAMABAD — Pakistan and Afghanistan sealed a landmark trade deal Sunday as US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pushed the two neighbors to step up civilian cooperation and work together against al-Qaida and the Taliban.
Shortly after kicking off a South Asia trip aimed at refining the goals of the increasingly unpopular war in Afghanistan, Clinton looked on as the Afghan and Pakistani commerce ministers signed the trade agreement. It was reached only after years of negotiation with recent and very active US encouragement.
The pact, which eases restrictions on cross-border transportation, must still be ratified by the Afghan and Pakistani parliaments. US officials said they believe it will significantly enhance ties between the two countries, boost development and incomes on both sides of the border and contribute to the fight against extremists.