‘NATO assault lasted two hours, pleas went unheard’

Published: November 29, 2011
“This (apology) is not good enough. We strongly condemn the attacks and reserve the right to take action. We do not accept it because such kind of attacks have been taking place in the past…,” Major Abbas referring to the apology issued by Nato chief.

“This (apology) is not good enough. We strongly condemn the attacks and reserve the right to take action. We do not accept it because such kind of attacks have been taking place in the past…,” Major Abbas referring to the apology issued by Nato chief.


The alleged details of the Nato cross-border air strike on Pakistani military posts are more startling than the strikes themselves.

Perhaps this is why the prime minister has vowed no more “business as usual” with the United States. However, Pakistan stopped short on Monday of threatening to break the troubled alliance altogether.

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) spokesperson Major General Athar Abbas, the air assaults that claimed the lives of at least 24 Pakistani soldiers were not quick strikes, which could be chalked down to logistical mistakes – but attacks that lasted almost two hours.

Quoted by different international media outlets on Monday, Gen Abbas said that while the jets and helicopters pounded the installations, Pakistan’s military contacted their Nato counterparts. They asked that the fire cease, said Gen Abbas “but somehow it continued.”

If this is indeed the case, as a proper investigation is still pending, the claims made from across the border – that the firing came from Pakistan first – can only add fuel to the fire now burning in Pakistan over the incident.

“This is not true. They are making up excuses. And by the way, what are their losses, casualties [in this incident]?” Gen Abbas wrote to AFP in a text message.

He added that Nato and the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) are “trying to wriggle out of the situation” by claiming that the Pakistani troops fired first.

“There is no reason for the fire to be initiated from our area,” he said, adding that Mohmand Agency has been cleared of militants and that the army has regained control of the area.

“We have cleared the area and lost 70 officers in the operation already. Now we have to face the brunt of Nato from the other side?”

Referring to the apology issued by Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Sunday, he told Express 24/7: “This (apology) is not good enough. We strongly condemn the attacks and reserve the right to take action. We do not accept it because such kind of attacks have been taking place in the past…”

He later told a private television channel that 72 Pakistani soldiers have been killed and 250 wounded by fire from across the Afghan border over the last three years.

Gen Abbas said that the attack on Pakistani troops was “indiscriminate, highly callous and irresponsible” — refusing to accept expressions of regret over the cross-border attack that has inflamed US-Pakistani ties.

He stressed that the issue needs to be investigated, and the cause and use of weapons will be thoroughly explored.

This incident could also hurt cooperation on Afghanistan, Gen Abbas added. “This could have serious consequences in the level and extent of our cooperation,” he told Reuters.

In an interview on Sunday with British newspaper The Guardian, Gen Abbas went to the extent of saying: “I cannot rule out the possibility that this was a deliberate attack by Isaf.”

Pakistani army officials said the posts that were attacked were about 300 metres into Pakistani territory. Isaf officers, however, maintain that the border in that area is disputed.

“This was a visible, well-made post, on top of ridges, made of concrete. Militants don’t operate from mountaintops, from concrete structures.”

PM strikes grave note

In an interview with CNN, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said incidents such as the Nato cross-border attack further alienated the masses, leaving his government isolated in its unpopular alliance with the US.

“Business as usual will not be there, therefore we have to have something bigger to satisfy my nation, the entire country,” he said.

Asked whether the US-Pakistani alliance can continue, he replied: “That can continue on mutual respect and mutual interest,” adding that both were currently lacking. “If I can’t protect the sovereignty of my country, how can we say there is mutual respect and mutual interest?”

(Read: After the Nato attack)

Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (36)

  • Cautious
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:34AM

    “There is no reason for the fire to be initiated from our area,”
    Yet you have a history of shooting at NATO troops when they approach the border — what makes this any different. Better yet — provide a plausible explanation of why NATO would initiate fire against this outpost.Recommend

  • Nov 29, 2011 - 5:35AM

    OMG! assault lasted for two hours!!??? C’mon Major… where were our F-17 thunders then.!??


  • Usman
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:40AM

    > The alleged details ?

    Seriously ET, where do you guys come up with such biased headlines?


  • rehmat
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:52AM

    Gilani says ” “Business as usual will not be there, therefore we have to have something bigger to satisfy my nation, the entire country,”
    Even at this stage the army and politicians only want to negotiate for more arms and money. The only question is how much money is the blood of Pakistani soldiers worth. Really sad state of affairs. It shouldn’t be this way.


  • Proud Christian
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:16AM

    May our Lord Jesus bring curse to this disgraced nation. May they die in hell.

    Pakistan army: Declare war or you will lose my entire respect. My family will be the first to volunteer


  • A
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:21AM

    The fact that Pakistan has on several occasions supported anti-US elements is an accurate one,no matter how much the Government of Pakistan would like to deny. But under no circumstance is it acceptable to enter the sovereign territory of a country and attack its soldiers,as “self-defence” or not…. If China or Russia were to attack from Cuba on America territory ,i doubt the same reaction would have followed.


  • Mohammad Ahmed Khan
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:29AM

    I am not cynical but I bet, we will see the same outcome as we did in Raymond Davis case. Whatever you do, this upper cadre including military and civil is not going to do anything.

    However its another good case to boil the blood of the whole nation – but this time we should not protest against NATO attack but against this leadership that bring us in this humiliation.


  • Ch Allah Daad
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:34AM

    Sir, you have exposed yourself. They were bombing us for two hours and our air force did nothing. Only explanation to this blunder is that you might have thought that our assets are having fun. Perhaps its media which told you about NATO attack.


  • Furki
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:54AM

    I dont see what the big deal is here. Many innocent civilians die of drone strikes every week and nobody does anything about it. The forces are paid to protect the civilians from drone strikes. Why protest now?


  • Imran
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:59AM

    Army and Air force chiefs were partying, and couldn’t be reached in time. As usual the response was too late, in the form of condemnation only. This is the height of incompetency, demonstrated over and over again.


  • huma
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:05AM

    shame on you kyani…they bombed your soldiers for two hours knowing it was a pakistani air base and all you did was beg them to stop? Don’t be surprised if your soldiers revolt against you in the future…although this will help the enemies of pakistan only if our army’s structure is in trouble as well..


  • Akthar
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:25AM

    Why did we beg & plead? What was the Airforce doing? Where were the Thunders and Missiles? Isn`t the ISPR ashamed to say this?? When we call ourselves a nuclear power, why should we beg and plead?

    Some words like Self Respect, Sovereignty, hold no meaning. We have sold our Airbases, sold our people`s blood (Raymond Davis), we compromised on our Air spaces (drones) and we are just plain mercenaries (We Rent our Army to Bahrain). How much low can we get? Our Foreign Policy is dictated by foreign powers who can ask us to go to war (post 9/11) and with one threatening call we follow orders. The Americans threw a few thousand dollars, & Raymond Davis was free.

    We have no Soul, no Individuality & atleast, atleast now, i hope we realize and make foreign policies on our own and not for others. Even smaller countries are not in a shameless situation as we are. If Bangladesh, our half brother, lives in its own right, why cant we?


  • ali
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:31AM

    Ok. So Nation/ISAF attacked and it lasted for more than 2 hour. Was the rest of the army and air force was asleep. Did our radars fail again. All talk. Time for a change, Gen. Kiyani should resign.


  • Hasan
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:33AM

    Where was the Pakistan air force during the 2 hour period?


  • TingTong
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:39AM

    Oh c’mon! you’re such a cry baby. The Americans had already informed that they will bomb you back to the stone ages and now you are crying they dint inform and it lasted for 2 hours n such trivial things. You should be happy that it got over in just 2 hours. Recommend

  • Prudent
    Nov 29, 2011 - 8:01AM

    remember an offense taken in a wrong way at the wrong time leads to total disaster…just imagine Paksiatni air force hitting back and downing 3 jets and two helicopters…what the breaking news would have been on media…?? it would have read “Pakistan attack NATO and US force” without giving the truth to world….what i want to say …we must admit we are at lower tier in this battle and have to bear such losses …or otherwise become like Iran and face the enmity of US,UK and rest of the world…you can not be boarding two boats at a time…
    so my dear country men who are asking about radars, aircraft and army sleeping…choice is yours….be crushed like Iraq or keep a balance , and continue give and take for survival….either you must rise and unite as a nation or bear with what is happening…


  • IndianAthiest
    Nov 29, 2011 - 8:17AM

    Pakistani guns have become old and take more than 2 hours to raise and fire at enemies.


  • Umar
    Nov 29, 2011 - 8:28AM

    COAS, DG ISI and Air Chief SHOULD & MUST RESIGN Recommend

  • ghaznavi
    Nov 29, 2011 - 8:39AM

    chill guys,f-16 garam ho rahe the,2 ghante to lagte hain.it’s a pity those choppers got away,our mard-e-momins would have taught them a fitting lesson.


  • Occam's Razor
    Nov 29, 2011 - 8:46AM

    exactly, where were the PAF fighter jets for 2 hours during the raid? Aren’t PAF pilots ready 24-7 and the planes scrambled into action within 2 minutes to safeguard our borders? Where is 70% of the tax payers’ money going to? If not directly retaliating, the mere presence of PAF jets could have stopped the NATO onslaught.


  • Nov 29, 2011 - 8:56AM

    provoked or unprovoked? the million dollar question is where was our airforce? if the DG Millitary operations was busy contacting NATO Counterparts…why didnt the DG asked informed the airforce about the attack. The airforce whose radars should have picked up the movement anyway… a terrible loss indeed!


  • H.A. Khan
    Nov 29, 2011 - 9:00AM

    Where is UN ; where is Ban Ki Moon?
    Why is UN silent?


  • Mudassar.R
    Nov 29, 2011 - 9:04AM

    what our army was doing is one thing, but what ISAF and NATO did,is un acceptable once again and we want no more alliance with these satan americans…


  • Hu Jintao
    Nov 29, 2011 - 9:11AM

    You know ET is part of New york times?


  • Syed
    Nov 29, 2011 - 9:14AM

    Can we afford fight with US, Israel, British and India at a time?

    If we dare and put shahadat in our minds then only we can..


  • Imran
    Nov 29, 2011 - 9:29AM

    Pakistan is making a joke out of itself. What a waste the leaders. We need firm decision makers and leaders who are there to respond asap! Or otherwise people should stand at the border with the army to protect the land. So what if the leaders are sleeping; we are not.


  • sajid
    Nov 29, 2011 - 9:33AM

    Anyone who is wishing for resignitaions from air chief or army chief lives in a fools paradise. These people did not resign when US helicopters flew into Abbotabad to kill the most wanted man in the world at a place just walking distance from army bases.


  • Hasan
    Nov 29, 2011 - 10:27AM

    So we have an air force but we can’t utilize the aircraft to defend our troops for fear of an escalation in tension between Pakistan and NATO forces.

    Sounds a bit like nuclear weapons….. we have them but we can’t use them for fear of being annihilated.


  • Toosy
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:30PM

    If the attacked continued for two hours then why werent our fighter jets there??? :(


  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:01PM

    According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) spokesperson Major General Athar Abbas, the air assaults that claimed the lives of at least 24 Pakistani soldiers were not quick strikes, which could be chalked down to logistical mistakes – but attacks that lasted almost two hours.”
    What were our “VALIANT FORCES” doing during these TWO LONG HOURS??? Where was our AIR FORCE??? Cranking up the JETS???


  • meekal ahmed
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:06PM

    If the attack lasted TWO hours we need to ask serious questions about our air force. Where were they as this fire-fight was going on in our airspace? Two hours is a very long time. How come no jets were scrambled?

    Were they all sleeping again as in the case of Abbottabad?


  • Titliest
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:27PM

    When will the Pakistan defence forces show competency in fighting similar to what they demonstrate in developing industry, redirecting containers and housing societies?


  • malik
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:10PM

    This is a war between ISI & CIA…NATO attack was a reaction of Haqqani there favourite man was forced to resign…..plus the collateral damage to the CIA’s safe houses in Pakistan done by CIA.


  • Jeez
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:46PM

    After seeing the responses here, I have to say too many judgements are being passes – as though they were present in the situation! What do any of you know? Has anyone close to you been killed in such attacks? I really doubt that, and this is why you cannot even feel the depth and seriousness of the situation? You really think that if we had sent our jets in defense of this attack, that the situation would have become better somehow.. thats called living in a fools paradise. Maybe a handful of people responding here are indifferent to war in Pakistan, but the majority want our their human rights, peace and for US to leave our country if they are going to misuse our air space and launch illegal attacks on our citizens and soldiers.. we should at leas know our own human right!s.. with jumpy, critical and ignorant remarks like some made above – You should be thanking your God/s that Nato wasn’t attacking your backyard .. cos if we don’t take a stand for these incidents right now.. thats what will be happening eventually!!Recommend

  • asim gardezi
    Nov 29, 2011 - 8:49PM

    1500 meters on either side of borders are no fly zone. I wonder what NATO helicopters were doing there. And if they were there than Pakistan troops had the right to fire on them. We as a nation have been disgraced again and again and again. Enough is enoughRecommend

  • makd
    Dec 2, 2011 - 7:41AM

    there is many comments on here by the same people, asking for war and leader of army to step down… this is the usa plan. To pull Pakistan into war…they want to destroy Pakistan before middle east is attacked by Israel…don’t be fooled so easily..

    Pakistan cannot win this war.. it’s a war of patience and tactics (guerrilla warfare) the only way Pakistan can win..

    USA, Israel, uk, France, Germany etc (nato) is too much for even Russia or china… Pakistan must avoid this war at any cost…they want pak nukes at any cost


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