Pakistan insists NATO air strikes were deliberate

By AFP
Published: December 16, 2011
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The Nato attack site. PHOTO: AFP

The Nato attack site. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON: Pakistan stood firm Thursday in charging that US-led forces deliberately carried out air strikes that killed 24 soldiers and led Islamabad to shut critical Nato supply routes to Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s embassy in Washington invited reporters to a briefing at which officials showed images and maps that they said supported Islamabad’s case, despite US insistence that the November 26 incident was a regrettable mistake.

An embassy official said that Nato forces could not have mistaken the two border posts on the Afghan border for bases of Islamic extremists such as the Taliban as they stood on high ground and had structures.

“It’s in plain view on the top of a barren ridge, a place that terrorists perhaps would not be inclined to use as a hideout,” said the official, who requested that his name not be used.

The Pakistani official declined to speculate on US motivations for an alleged deliberate attack.

“It’s something which just doesn’t make any sense to me given the kind of coordination mechanism we have, the kind of information-sharing we have, given the fact that these locations are mutually known to both sides,” he said.

The incident comes amid high tension between the United States and Pakistan, whose military -long the country’s most powerful institution -has been on the defensive since the secret US raid in May that killed Osama bin Laden.

President Barack Obama has voiced regret over the November 26 incident and said it was not deliberate. But Pakistan has been pushing for a full-fledged apology before it will consider reopening Nato supply routes into Afghanistan.

US officials say they are investigating the air strikes but have suggested that Pakistan gave the go-ahead for the air strikes after Nato forwarded coordinates of the targets.

The embassy official acknowledged that Pakistan received coordinates but said that they were incorrect and covered an area some 15 kilometers (nine miles) to the north of the incident.

According to the official’s account, Pakistan’s chain of command was reviewing the coordinates but Nato helicopters went ahead and started to strike a Pakistani border post shortly after midnight.

Communications with the first station went down and a second Pakistani post nearby opened 12.7-mm anti-aircraft fire on the Nato helicopters, which then proceeded to strike the second site, according to the official.

Islamic extremist groups effectively control parts of lawless northwestern Pakistan. US lawmakers are pushing through a bill that would freeze $700 million in aid to Pakistan amid growing US frustration with its war partner.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • R S JOHAR
    Dec 16, 2011 - 2:55PM

    My first comments on ET after this ghastly attack was that, it has to be delibrate since NATO has various high tech means available at its disposal to ascertain the exact location of the Pak forces. Though the apprehensions of GOP may be true but at international arena, levelling of such serious allegations and that too at the only super-power on whom Pakistan is quite dependent, the country needs to produce some hard and unrefutable evidence.

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  • Maulana Diesel
    Dec 16, 2011 - 2:56PM

    The americans are lying through their teeth.

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  • Cautious
    Dec 16, 2011 - 3:51PM

    Pakistan decided this was intentional without an investigation – and turned down a chance to participate in a joint investigation which would have given them a chance to directly interview the American soldiers and review whatever information they may have had. Pakistan has also provided no credible reason for the USA or NATO to deliberately attack a remote outpost. Given the above it’s pretty clear to me that Pakistan doesn’t care about the “WHY” it is using this tragedy to promote an agenda.

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  • MarkH
    Dec 16, 2011 - 5:04PM

    There has never been a time in history that Pakistan has ever been an innocent victim of an attack except for its civilians.

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  • sam
    Dec 16, 2011 - 7:38PM

    Pakistan has strong case no need to bow down.keep telling the world “its deliberate”. all evidances suggest its deliberate.

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  • Harry Stone
    Dec 17, 2011 - 5:49AM

    And this is believable?

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  • Ehsan Ilahi
    Dec 17, 2011 - 9:19AM

    Only White blood is accounted to be revanged?????

    Powerful only NEGOTIATE peace when defeated. Korea/Viatnam/combodia………………

    If We believe USA ??.
    The iraq War for Weapons of Mass Destruction. with more then 200000 innocent people died only to Kill SADDAM a US operative and spy.

    Then they take-on the TALIBAN who were able to make peace in a country abandoned by US after defeat of USSR. only to round off CHINA .
    Now spending after billions of dollars and deaths they are negotiating??????

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