Obama sees Pakistani deaths as tragedy

Published: November 29, 2011

In a statement read out by White House spokesperson, Jay Carney, Obama called the events and deaths of Pakistani soldiers as "tragic". PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama sees the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) raid as a “tragedy”, the White House said on Monday, but argued that crisis-wrecked US-Pakistani ties were vital to both sides.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama believed Saturday’s attack, which threw US-Pakistani ties into turmoil, was “a tragedy,” adding that “we mourn those brave Pakistani service members that lost their lives.”

“We take this matter very seriously,” said Carney, adding that two inquiries by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and US Central Command would examine what took place.

“As for our relationship with Pakistan, it continues to be an important cooperative relationship that is also very complicated,” Carney said.

“It is very much in America’s national security interest to maintain a cooperative relationship with Pakistan because we have shared interests in the fight against terrorism,” Carney said.

Pakistan earlier in the day vowed that there would no more be “business as usual” with the United States but stopped short of threatening to break the troubled alliance altogether.

(Read: No more business as usual between Pakistan and US, says Gilani)

To attend or not to attend the Bonn Conference

US State Department reacting over Pakistan’s indication to reconsider attending the Bonn conference on Afghanistan, says the conference is in Pakistan’s interest as well.

Addressing the press briefing at the State Department, spokesperson Mark Toner said that it was in Pakistan’s interest to attend the conference as the conference’s objective was to have a stable and secure Afghanistan.

In response to a question, Toner said “the US-Pakistan relationship has weathered many storms.” He added that the US was continuing to talk to Pakistan, “we’re stressing on this relationship and this relationship is in our shared national security interests.”

Toner added that there would be two investigations carried out into the incident, but referred reporters back to the Department of Defense on when this inquiry would be completed.

He said that the US is showing its seriousness of purpose into investigating the incident. Toner said that the US was taking this very seriously.

The State Department spokesperson said that the US was concerned about the impact of this incident on the US-Pakistan relationship. He said that the US “recognizes that our cooperation with Pakistan has yielded tangible results. There have been challenges in this relationship and we want to work through it.”

On Afghanistan-Pakistan relations, Toner said that both countries had a critical relationship and had a common enemy. He said that the real goal was to create a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan that isn’t threatened by extremists.

In response to a question on the new Pakistan ambassador to the US, Toner said that many at the State Department knew her and that the United States was looking forward to working with her.

Afghanistan sticks with “self-defense” theory on NATO airstrike

NATO and the United States are trying to limit fallout from the attack but Islamabad has shut vital supply routes to the 140,000 foreign troops serving in Afghanistan.

Pakistan called the strike “unprovoked,” worsening US-Pakistani relations which were already in crisis after the killing in May of Osama bin Laden north of Islamabad by US special forces.

The Wall Street Journal, following a similar report by Britain’s Guardian newspaper, cited three Afghan officials and one Western official as saying the air raid was called in to shield allied forces targeting Taliban fighters.

NATO and Afghan forces “were fired on from a Pakistani army base,” the unnamed Western official told the Journal. “It was a defensive action.”

An Afghan official said the Kabul government believes the fire came from the Pakistani military base – and not from insurgents. Afghan-Pakistani relations suffer from routine mutual recriminations.

 

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:12AM

    We do not think that US/NATO air strikes were not “tragic” but it was pre-planned which has intentionally killed 28 of our Army Jawans.

    Pakistan-US relations depend on vacation of Shamshi Airbase from US and UAE.

    If Shamshi Airbase is not vacated by UAE, then Pakistan won’t be talking any more with US.

    For God’s sake don’t tell Pakistan to have a direct dialogue with UAE, as you have been telling Pakistan to have a direct word with India.

    It is matter of our sovereignty and integrality and there will be no compromise on it.

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  • Mirza
    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:13AM

    Soon there would be business as usual. US goods and aid would be flowing into Pakistan. All this chest thumping be stopped and the situation analyzed and proper actions taken to make sure that no such incident takes place in future. The families of the soldiers be properly compensated and apologized. That would be a beginning.

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:39AM

    No one is sorry for Pakistan’s dead, especially the Nobel Peace Prize Winner Obama. They know only too well that without Pakistan there is no exit out of Afghanistan and the Bonn Conference attendance by Pakistan will be viewed as Pakistan acceptance of Nato attack as ‘business as usual”. Pakistan should start sending back trucks of supplies and fuel to fuel depots and supplies to Karachi for disembarkation by Nato.

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  • guest-worker
    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:46AM

    Instant Replay comment??

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  • Zafar Karachiwala
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:18AM

    Drama being run all over again. Within a couple of days US will whip pakistan back into place and all this drama will end till the americans feel like playing with pakistan again.

    Pakistan needs to come to term with the fact that US is a SUPREME SUPER POWER and does not care what pakistan thinks or does.

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  • Syed
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:25AM

    Obama being brought in to either apply pressure or convince the pakistani side for the importance US gives to Pakistan(verbally) be it this event or the raymond davis event. To me Obama’s involvement is getting irrelevant from Pakistan’s perspective.

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  • Kirmani
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:46AM

    What happened was an absolute travesty – quite despicable indeed. And very very unnecessary loss of lives of soldiers.

    At the same time, let us think for a moment – there are so many army posts on the border, which I would assume the NATO is very well aware of. Why attack these two posts specifically? Maybe there was a provocation or mistake of some kind? For example, the soldiers might have been shooting at terrorists, which NATO might have mistaken for an attack against them?

    I do not think this is a deliberate attack. If they wanted, they could have done it long ago. And on other posts too. It may be best to wait and learn what really happened (if we will every hear that!). I feel that both the sides are blowing a lot of smoke right now, trying to manipulate a most tragic event to their own advantage.

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  • Proud Christian
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:57AM

    Pakistan needs to be firm. Jesus will not forgive US. He is on our side. Should teach US a lesson once and for all.

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  • Aadersh
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:03AM

    Too little too late….Obama get out of our lives…We hate you

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  • Faction
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:06AM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui: Fortunately, there are people with functioning brains in Pakistan who will draw conclusions based upon facts and reason, rather than extremist ideology and hate mongering. Sincere condolences to the families of the innocent Pakistanis who have lost their lives.

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  • Walter Boyd
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:20AM

    If there was even a single shot fired from the Pakistani military base, I would recommend strikes by Boeing B-52′s and just level that part of the country.

    I know this was seemingly a tragic incident, but by all accounts, the Pakistani’s have taken my tax dollars and not been cooperative.

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  • Alan E.
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:22AM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:
    That is such a stupid theory. Why on earth would NATO risk further alienation with Pakistan. Your idea makes no sense. A strong partnership is what both parties need to rid the area of the Talibvan and lawless insurgents. The immediate throry that the fire came from a Pakistani Army base near the border seems to indicate that there are elements in the Pakistani Army that want to rid the area of NATO troops so that Al-Qeda and taliban can get the upper hand. THAT MAKES MORE SENSE

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  • Lahoot e Lamakaan
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:40AM

    180 million united against one enemy .. I say we end this WOT and alliance with USA. We should become independent of this American hegemoney.

    26 killed sons of the motherland must be honoured

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  • A2Z
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:54AM

    Mr Obama, the nobel peace prize winner we dont want relations with you. Nobel prize is the biggest joke which is only being given on political basis.

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  • Gen Pasha (retd)
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:10AM

    My fellow Pakistanis get so upset and call for jihad when the Americans kill our soldiers, however when the taliban kill our soldiers or citizens they either stay quiet or make national hero’s out of them as they did with Qadri. This is the problem with many of our countrymen – they are 2 faced

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  • haha
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:33AM

    @Gen Pasha (retd):
    muslims killed by muslims allowed, whether killers are terrorists, and muslim killing innocents are also accepted, whether victims are muslims or not, but this is not acceptable coz…

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  • Motsomi Masilo
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:35AM

    The Saturday morning unprovoked attack on Pakistan soldiers by Nato forces is a direct declaration of war.
    Pakistan must retaliate with vigour.

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  • usman
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:26AM

    The best way out of this is for NATO to give blood money to the martyered pakistany soldier’s families. This is the only way.

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  • ali
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:44AM

    Obama is a bigger war monger than Bush. Its a shame that he was given Nobel prize for peace.

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Nov 29, 2011 - 9:32AM

    Mr. Obama now the time has gone when you could easily fool and deceive the Pakistani nation and the leaders.Now you shall have to change your policies about the Pakistani foreign policies,Pakistani nation and sovereignty because your hypocritical and dual-faced policies about the Pakistan and its nation has been disclosed and Salala’s event is done by your permission and if you are really sincere and honest with Pakistan and its nation then punish sternly the real culprits (Officers either US’ or NATO’s who ordered the NATO’s choppers’ pilots to kill the innocent Pakistani soldiers and the choppers’ pilots also to do so) of this tragic event.Don’t give such these types of hypocritical statements because now you do have nothing to prove yourselves innocent in this case and can never win the trust and soft corner of Pakistani nation and the leaders especially military officials now.No matter thousands of such these types of hypocritical statements you give to show your shallow love,tenderness,kindness and human sympathies about this tragic event with the Pakistani nation.

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