Pakistan rejects US probe on lethal strikes

By AFP
Published: December 23, 2011

Military says the it does not agree with the findings of the US inquiry as being reported by the media. PHOTO: EPA

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday rejected a US probe into American air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, providing little sign of a swift resolution to the worst crisis in the countries’ fragile alliance.

“Pakistan’s army does not agree with the findings of the US/Nato inquiry as being reported in the media. The inquiry report is short on facts,” the military said in a short statement.

“A detailed response will be given as and when the formal report is received,” it said.

The inquiry, headed by a US Air Force general, blamed US and Pakistani forces for a series of mistakes that led to “tragic” air strikes on November 26, the deadliest single cross-border attack of the 10-year war in Afghanistan.

The Americans acknowledged for the first time significant responsibility for the strikes, but insisted their troops responded only after coming under heavy machine-gun and mortar fire, angering Islamabad, which has denied any such thing.

The probe portrayed a disastrous spate of errors and botched communication in which both sides failed to tell the other about their operational plans or location of troops, exposing deep distrust.

Pakistan refused to take part in the inquiry, having criticised previous investigations into cross-border attacks as worthless. Instead, it has sought a formal apology from US President Barack Obama.

Islamabad has kept its Afghan border closed to Nato convoys since November 26, boycotted the Bonn conference on Afghanistan and ordered Americans to leave an air base understood to have been a hub for CIA drone strikes on the Taliban.

The 28-day border closure is unprecedented in the 10-year US-led war in Afghanistan, shutting down the quickest and cheapest supply line for 140,000 foreign troops fighting the Taliban.

Analysts in Pakistan saw little in the report that would repair relations, particularly with the government and military in a standoff over alleged attempts by one of the president’s aides to rein in the power of the military.

“Our military and government have promoted anti-Americanism on this issue, thereby restricting their own options to re-open negotiations with the US,” Lahore-based security analyst Hasan Askari told AFP.

“We are not sure how long they will continue with this stalemate. Given the present crises in Pakistan, neither the civil government nor the military will make a positive move towards the US,” he added.

Brigadier General Stephen Clark, who led the probe, said US aircraft carried out three strikes after American and Afghan commandos raiding a village near the border came under heavy machine-gun and mortar fire.

The US did not tell the Pakistanis in advance about the night raid and the Pakistanis had never notified Nato of new border posts in the area, he said.

“For the loss of life — and for the lack of proper coordination between US and Pakistani forces that contributed to those losses — we express our deepest regret,” the US statement said, stopping short of an apology.

The report upheld much of Pakistan’s version of events, namely that the Americans called in the wrong coordinates when asking for clearance to attack, but contradicted Pakistan by insisting its troops came under fire first.

The Pentagon acknowledged the Americans relayed “incorrect mapping information” to the Pakistanis, giving the wrong location for Pakistani troops at border outposts, and found “inadequate coordination” between both sides.

Nato agreed with the findings and said “a series of mistakes were made on both sides in failing to properly coordinate their locations and actions both before the operation and during the resulting engagement”.

The episode reflected “an over-arching lack of trust,” Clark said.

Nato officers view Pakistan as reluctant to disclose all their border posts and the military in Afghanistan has the impression that when they have shared details, some operations have been compromised, he said.

The air strikes were the latest in a series of crises this year that have brought the fragile Pakistani-US alliance to an all-time low.

In January, a CIA contractor shot dead two Pakistanis and was taken into custody, accused of double murder. On May 2, a covert American raid killed Osama bin Laden near the capital without Washington informing the government.

Reader Comments (25)

  • NA
    Dec 23, 2011 - 11:32AM

    It was pre-planned assault on Pakistan by US to provoke her to isolate itself from Afghan reconciliation process with Taliban. It is evident that after US-India strategic partnership, India has a greater role in future of Afghanistan where Taliban will be part of new Govt.

    Recommend

  • Dr. Who!
    Dec 23, 2011 - 11:33AM

    Nice background!

    Recommend

  • sam
    Dec 23, 2011 - 11:44AM

    Why so many errors. You safely located,killed OBL and than returned home. Why series of errors here.

    Recommend

  • Mirza
    Dec 23, 2011 - 11:46AM

    The US forces promptly completed their report and disclosed more than what we have ever done about Abbottabad, Mehran Base, Shamsi Base, GHQ and East Pakistan surrender. If the US is lying and not offering the proofs and facts, what are we waiting for? Who has stopped us from telling the truth and offer proofs. Let us show the same zeal in protecting the country as we are showing to the memo written by an American.

    Recommend

  • sk
    Dec 23, 2011 - 11:50AM

    What happened to the absurd conspiracy theory that RAW and Afghan intelligence organised to disrupt the “brotherly” alliance between US and Pakistan (:-)?

    Recommend

  • UFF
    Dec 23, 2011 - 11:57AM

    We are united with our Forces

    Recommend

  • Green eyed Pakistani
    Dec 23, 2011 - 12:05PM

    Had US given apology to The state of Pakistan and compensated the families of martyrs within few days after attack , Pakistan would have participated in Bonn conference , which could have been to mile stone step for stability in Afghanistan .

    Recommend

  • Zia
    Dec 23, 2011 - 12:06PM

    ‘Pakistan rejects’ to everything except aid and free money.

    Recommend

  • R S JOHAR
    Dec 23, 2011 - 12:23PM

    Double trouble for Pakistan both internal and external as well.

    Recommend

  • Ali KHan
    Dec 23, 2011 - 12:30PM

    This US report is an insult once agan by USA of our sheed solders sham on you USA NATO ISAF
    sham sham sham .

    Recommend

  • Jp
    Dec 23, 2011 - 12:33PM

    Pakistan military has to open the NATO supply routes soon if it really wants to remove the civilian govt of pakistan. It cannot fight two fronts at the same time

    Recommend

  • Parvez
    Dec 23, 2011 - 12:36PM

    The U.S. response appears to be a political response. Saying the incident is regretted, there were mistakes on both sides, there will be compensation and now lets get on with business.
    Pakistan army’s response also appears to be a political response and a correct one.

    Recommend

  • hedgefunder
    Dec 23, 2011 - 2:45PM

    One can only reject any probe, when one is in the position to conduct one themselves !!!
    At least USA did want to find out as to what actually happened, which is lot more than what Pakistan’s attitude to this sad event has been.
    Apart from making hollow noises and stopping the supply route and taking back the Air base, nothing further has been done to establish any facts !!!!!

    Recommend

  • Fatah
    Dec 23, 2011 - 2:45PM

    Border to Afghanistan is PERMANENTLY CLOSED to USA/NATO and to civilian Afghan supplies.

    Until Afghanistan kicks out US troops, like Iraq, there will be no food,medicine or fuel for Afghanistan. Let them get it thru the “Northern Distribution Network”.

    Afghanistan can survive without Pakistan – What a Joke!

    America ask India for a geographic transportation corridor to Afghanistan….

    Recommend

  • saad
    Dec 23, 2011 - 2:47PM

    So according to reports both sides had given wrong information/ did not give exact location than maybe their is not point of having an co-ordination points and pakistan should simply protect its border regardless of who is moving across the border. That is what any country would do

    Recommend

  • MarkH
    Dec 23, 2011 - 2:54PM

    That man’s picture is looking more and more like someone pretending to innocently whistle when they’re deeper in the mess than anyone.

    Recommend

  • Hamid
    Dec 23, 2011 - 5:08PM

    On Osama they were accurate, how come they were so erroneous here?

    Recommend

  • Cautious
    Dec 23, 2011 - 6:15PM

    When Pakistan refused to participate in an investigation they lost all credibility. The USA would have allowed Pakistan to interview any of their military involved in this operation as well as their superiors — Pakistan on the other hand would never let the USA interview it’s soldiers especially after all the speeches proclaiming who was at fault without so much as an internal investigation. It’s obvious to the rest of the World that leaders inside Pakistan are using this tragedy to pursue a political agenda Recommend

  • Cautious
    Dec 23, 2011 - 7:34PM

    @sam

    Why so many errors. You safely
    located,killed OBL and than returned
    home. Why series of errors here.

    Ever been on a night patrol and come under fire? Comparing a special op that has been planned with an unexpected fire fight is inappropriate. War is more complicated and terrifying than your video games.

    Recommend

  • Tony C.
    Dec 23, 2011 - 9:04PM

    If I have it right the American investigation probe is saying that “their maps are not accurate”. They have been in the Afghanistan/Pakistan area for ten years, spent trillions of dollars on the war and they now indicate they have faulty maps. In my country, which is extremely large, the whole place has detailed pictures from Google Earth. Using G.P.S. positioning technology, costing less than 200 dollars, I can be guided accurately anywhere. Additionally, although am not a navigator, I can sail around the world using a G.P.S. device, knowing exactly where I am within 20 metres. With these points in mind it beggars belief that a country such as America, which prides itself upon having superior technology, and aircraft costing in excess of 20 million dollars, does not have accurate navigation guidance systems in its aircraft. Methinks the Americans are fudging their report, and I do not believe them either!

    Recommend

  • Harry Stone
    Dec 24, 2011 - 6:24AM

    Well Bully for PAK. The only people outside of PAK who care what the PAK’s believe are the Americans. That will stop once the operations in Afghanistan cease. Then PAK will be labeled for what it is – a failed state that sponsors terrorism.

    Recommend

  • Tony C.
    Dec 24, 2011 - 10:26AM

    @Harry Stone:
    Dear Harry,
    The only people Americans care for or believe are themselves. This is in spite of the fact that America is being led by a group of psychopathic, deranged killers, who are only interested in invading, pillaging and killing huge numbers of people. In the last ten years America has bombed Iraq, Afghanistan Libya and large parts of Pakistan into the stone-age, killing a few million people in the process. I think Pakistanis will breath a sigh of relief when the Americans leave and allow Pakistan to revert to its former way of life.

    Recommend

  • Harry Stone
    Dec 24, 2011 - 10:53AM

    @Tony C.:

    Not the stone age. In most cases these people like many in PAK were already living in the stone age.

    You are correct in that Americans are always concerned about their own safety and to an extent well being. What you fail to acknowledge or recongize is they are also the most generious people in the world providing more support and aide to those in need than any other nation or group of nations. Recommend

  • Tony C.
    Dec 24, 2011 - 3:15PM

    @Harry Stone:
    Dear Harry,
    I do not think that you quite have it in regard to the dreadful harm America has perpetrated around the world over the last ten years or so. The current death toll from U.S./NATO interventions is well over two million people; after ten years the Iraqi infrastructure (which had a high standard-of-living) is still almost inoperable; Libya, which had the highest standard-of-living in North Africa (hardly stone-age) is now a pile of rubble. Due to American intervention in Afghanistan the Afghan people have a lower standard-of-living than before. On top of this the U.S. military routinely attack villages, in Afghanistan/Pakistan and kill men, women and children by throwing grenades into their houses or call in air strikes if the people resist, using the excuse that they were militants. Another point to consider is that the U.S. has spent 5 trillion dollars fighting the Iraq, Afghanistan wars. This is really generous, particularly when you consider they are spending your tax money. The other thing to consider is that most of the U.S. generosity goes into military aid, and most of it goes to one country. I will not go back 49 years, but there are many children still being born with deformaties from U.S. military interventions over this period, and America, with its generosity has done very little to help out. No Harry, I do not consider America to be a generous nation. In fact, just the reverse. American leaders are mean minded and brutal, and what is really scary is that many Americans cannot see it. All I can be grateful for is that America has not tried to save my country with one of its noble missions. The consequences of an American mission in my country would be too nightmarish to contemplate. .

    Recommend

  • Dec 25, 2011 - 5:42AM

    It,is very simple indeed, if the report is unacceptable, Pakistanis should stand united and firm to reject the finding and insist to for a formal apology, period.
    Falling short from the demand, it means no more cross boarder crossing re-opening for the responsible parties and vigorously defend Pakistan’s sovereignty by all means. This pretty much is true as a rational response for any other countries on this globe.

    Recommend

More in Pakistan