Salala tragedy: Army rejects US probe on NATO air raid

Published: January 24, 2012
Insists Pakistan should not share the blame with US. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Insists Pakistan should not share the blame with US. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Army on Monday rejected US findings on last year’s Nato cross-border air attack that killed 24 of its soldiers, terming the incident a failure on the part of Washington and linking it to a lack of unified military command in Afghanistan.

“US/Isaf (International Security Assistance Force) violated all mutually agreed procedures with Pakistan for near-border operations put in place to avert such uncalled for actions,” said a 25-page statement issued by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The US investigation report, released on December 22, found that both American and Pakistani forces were to blame for the incident in Mohmand Agency, which had inflamed already strained ties.

“Pakistan does not agree with several portions and findings of the investigation report as these are factually not correct,” according to the ISPR report.

Pakistan Army, on its part, had on numerous occasions and at all levels highlighted the potential problems associated with not having all the forces in the Afghan theatre under a unified command, the statement added.

“This is disturbingly indicative of fundamental flaws in the US/Isaf/Nato procedures.”

The army further expressed its annoyance that the US military in its report considered its Pakistani counterpart in an ‘adversarial role’ and not a friend.

“Implicit in the mandate is the fact that Pakistan was considered in an adversarial role and not part of friendly forces.”

The military also expressed regret over the mandate and terms of reference given to the investigating team, which was not mandated to determine or affix responsibility for the incident.

Despite promises of thorough investigations, the US/Isaf failed to hold anyone accountable after each of these incidents, the ISPR statement said.

“Affixing partial responsibility of the incident on Pakistan is therefore unjustified and unacceptable,” it added.

Furthermore, the army regretted that in an effort to provide justification for Nato/Isaf actions, the US investigation report had gone to extreme lengths to construct the whole incident as an act of self defence.

ISPR further noted that there were instructions given to US personnel, as mentioned in the US/Isaf investigation report, wherein information to Pakistan military was to be deliberately withheld. “Had the disclosure been honest and as per the agreed procedures, the attacks could have been stopped at the earliest and precious lives saved,” it stated.

Moreover, the military regretted that the impartiality and transparency of the US investigation was adversely affected when senior US officials repeatedly stated that the incident was “not intentional”, without waiting for completion of the investigation.

The army also sought additional details from Isaf and Nato to complete its investigations into the incident.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (41)

  • Jan 23, 2012 - 6:20PM

    The response should be
    1) INDEFINITE Ban on “NATO Supplies”.
    2) Vacation of Jacob Abad and all other Airbases in use of Americans.
    3) Permanent HALT to Drone Attacks.


  • Jan 23, 2012 - 6:40PM

    Rejection for sake of rejection.


  • wonderer
    Jan 23, 2012 - 6:50PM

    It is not for the Army to reject or accept any report; the Government of Pakistan should be doing it.


  • sunny
    Jan 23, 2012 - 6:51PM

    Imposition of tariff by international standards is acceptable plus complete cease of drone attacks.


  • Jan 23, 2012 - 6:57PM

    There are lot many things Pakistan has not been agreeing on since it came into existence… I hope it agrees that it needs to exist!!


  • Roflcopter
    Jan 23, 2012 - 6:59PM

    @bangash, not really, they have good reasons to reject.


  • BS.Detecter
    Jan 23, 2012 - 7:03PM

    US ofcourse will free themselves of the blame and put it entirely on Pakistan, The global scape goat

    Thanks to governmentRecommend

  • BS.Detecter
    Jan 23, 2012 - 7:04PM

    Do you honestly believe this current government is capable of handling such delicate issues?
    All they are capable of is corruption and more corruption and lies


  • khizar
    Jan 23, 2012 - 7:17PM

    Thats great let the Parliment decide.


  • bravo
    Jan 23, 2012 - 7:23PM

    What are we doing to stop drones? making statements has done anything so far. Plz do something before it is too late.


    Jan 23, 2012 - 7:33PM

    HA HA. Govt cannot make up its own mind on the policies they form themselves. Probably too busy signing contracts to benefit all.


  • Cautious
    Jan 23, 2012 - 7:33PM

    @BS Detector.

    US ofcourse will free themselves of
    the blame and put it entirely on
    Pakistan, The global scape goat

    Did you even bother to read the article? In case you didn’t here is something you missed

    The US report released on December 22
    found both American and Pakistani
    forces were to blame for the border
    incident, inflaming already strained

    How’s that putting blame entirely on Pakistan? Further – in case you didn’t notice Pakistan assigned the blame entirely on the USA – even implied “motive” – and the timing of the accusations was immediate implying that no internal investigation has even been performed.


  • G.A.
    Jan 23, 2012 - 8:11PM

    This is an important time for Pakistan to change and do something to protect itself. Hope this decision of Pakistan against americans be true and not a mere show to public….


  • BS.Detecter
    Jan 23, 2012 - 8:38PM

    How do they even justify the part of blame on Pakistan when we had provided them with co-ordinates of all the security check posts in the region since this war started.

    Are the Americans so incompetent that they failed to double check it before proceeding to accomplish their mission?


  • shaan
    Jan 23, 2012 - 9:18PM

    Ask for more money, money, pak can buy more nuke, missiles and save pakistan..people can live on water.


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jan 23, 2012 - 10:09PM

    How USA killers can prepare a report of 24 Pakistani Army Jawans?

    The nation completely rejects the report issued by the US Authorities.


  • mariam.b
    Jan 24, 2012 - 12:07AM

    good move


  • Shahid Malik
    Jan 24, 2012 - 12:22AM

    Rejection is of no importance. Army has already allowed fresh drone attacks and is on the verge of opening supply routes. Of course, as in the past, criticism will have to be borne by the poor civilian government.


  • MarkH
    Jan 24, 2012 - 12:34AM

    They never planned on accepting anything but their version in the first place. The report was a waste of time and probably everyone knew it. Formalities.


  • Gabriel khan
    Jan 24, 2012 - 2:01AM

    heavey tariffs is better then closing the supply lines, the biggest punishment for US would be a financial pinch when thier economy is struggling and they are already thinking about shrinking thier military. It would also have some cash flowing into pakistan to maintain and/or re-sheet an already worn out road infrastructure.
    US should be made to pay for a heavy road toll and also for ongoing routine maintenance of the route they use. The cargo which is heavier then the standard allowed shouldnt be allowed to cross and made to return back to the ship with heavey penalties.


  • Imran Mohammad
    Jan 24, 2012 - 3:04AM

    @MarkH Imagine if French would have done the same thing to US , killed 24 US soldiers and then issued the similar investigation report, blaming both sides. How much acceptance would it be able to gain in Pentagon & US media/public ?


  • numbersnumbers
    Jan 24, 2012 - 3:13AM

    Please tell us where Pakistan Army has stated that ” we (Army) had provided them (ISAF)with co-ordinates of all the security check posts in the region since this war started”!
    I believe that you will find that Pakistan has REFUSED to provides such information to ISAF!
    And what about the Pakistani Officers in the Joint Command Center? Were they so incompetent as to not be able to read a map as to their own positions?


  • Deepwater
    Jan 24, 2012 - 4:19AM

    Can’t rightfully call this tit for tat. Tat is a superpower and tit is Pakistan. Big tat, small tit.


  • Mir Agha
    Jan 24, 2012 - 4:46AM

    Brilliant release by the ISPR, the moronic reaction from the US would be expected, giving Pakistan more room to do what it is currently doing as a response to that unprovoked attack.


  • Jan 24, 2012 - 5:29AM

    Its a good decision, but our Army still allowed Drone strike in pakistan..!!


  • David Salmon
    Jan 24, 2012 - 7:06AM

    So let’s see the Pakistan report. I’d like to read it and compare it with the US report.


  • American
    Jan 24, 2012 - 8:22AM

    US always tells the truth. The rest of the world is stupid and ignorant…and doesn’t really exist.


  • Jan 24, 2012 - 9:38AM

    what will happen to the drone attack on innocent civilans – these are being slaughtered by drones attacks; who will rescue from ruthless bombings? these are humanbeings, as well. What happens to Nato supply blocked – one apts to recall movie, “Guns of naveron”!


  • kaalchakra
    Jan 24, 2012 - 9:44AM

    It is amply clear that Pakistani government is right as it always is, taking its usual principled stands. US launched a totally unprovoked on Pakistani soldiers – just for the heck of it. No brave or intelligent Pakistani should stand for such an assault on its sovereignty.


  • Fatah
    Jan 24, 2012 - 9:49AM

    Let the US reject report – Pakistan does not need USA for access to Mexico.

    USA needs Pakistan to access Afghanistan.

    If it costs USA 6 times more to ship via NDN, then lets give them slight discount. Only 5 times cost.

    Close US Embassy – no need for 18 acre US military base in Islamabad.


  • Atif Aslam
    Jan 24, 2012 - 9:58AM

    Muslim World should impose sanctions on US and its allies!… wake up arabs!!Recommend

    Jan 24, 2012 - 10:31AM

    Who is right and wrong can now be seen? US lied again those innocent and righteous men.


  • Salman Sheikh
    Jan 24, 2012 - 10:38AM

    US always speaks the truth…Kuwait war, Vietnam war, Cuba war, WMD in Iraq, Taliban is Al Qaeda outfit now its US friend???


  • Jan 24, 2012 - 11:47AM

    Bottom line is US killed 24 Pakistanis, Pakistani Military was too incompetent to do anything about it. It could not even convince the Americans to stop the Drone attacks, again showing lack of efficiency and will.

    US is still the one calling the shots. Pakistan is still bankrupt and heading towards failure.

    The only change since the incidence took place is that Islamic radicalism has increased in Pakistan and Pakistan is more unstable than ever.


  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Jan 24, 2012 - 11:54AM

    When we were raising the voice against the presence of US base at Deogogarcia in Indian Oceon ,then Pakistan remain silent on the issue . Now they have bases in Islamabad and Afghanistan then how Pakistan can expect cooperstion of SAARC to put pressure on US to vaccate these bases and Pakistan alone can not do it . Hence these bases are now the permanent US base in Asia , We have to accept this reality .


  • Jan 24, 2012 - 10:38PM

    It’s remarkable that the Pakistani military is willing to issue a critique of others self-investigations yet is completely unwilling to reveal or perhaps even undertake an evaluation of itself. It is determined to remain unaccountable to anyone other than itself while insisting that everyone it deals with be accountable to the Pakistani military.

  • Tony C.
    Jan 24, 2012 - 11:07PM

    If in doubt do not trust U.S./NATO explanations. They have a long history of telling lies.


  • Jan 28, 2012 - 1:08AM

    During our investigation in December, we had asked the Pakistani government to take part. We would have preferred to have the cooperation and participation of our Pakistani counterparts; unfortunately, this invitation was declined. It is simply unfair to assume that the report presented to our command and released to the media was biased or fabricated. This incident was tragic but unintentional. Consider: why would we intentionally attack and kill Pakistani soldiers and harm our bilateral relations with Pakistan? There is neither rhyme nor reason in these accusations. Lack of coordination and communication on both sides resulted in this unfortunate incident. Instead of thinking of more means to further strain the U.S- Pakistan relationship, we need to work towards improving our relationship for the sake of bringing stability and peace in the region. Hence, we need to look beyond this incident, and redirect our energy to tackle the real issue at hand – how best to rebuild the bonds of trust and to improve the coordination so critical to us both.

    MAJ David Nevers,
    DET – U.S Central Command


  • American pakistani
    Jan 28, 2012 - 9:00PM

    no Maj David, you need to fight your own wars now, dont get your work done by others for you, you poked your nose into afghanistan after watching what happened to russia on the same soil, now you deal with your adventures yourself and please try and keep pakistan out of it. we are a third world country and dont have the resources or the funding to sustain the war efforts, please consider the poor and suffering people of pakistan, dont make a vietnam or iraq out of pakistan. Recommend

  • kamran
    Jan 28, 2012 - 9:30PM

    I am ashamed with comments that tarrifs should be increased, does honour have a price.


  • Tony C.
    Jan 29, 2012 - 2:35AM

    Dear Major Nevers,
    You and the high command at US CENTCOM still have not got it in regard to Afghanistan. The U.S. have created serious problems in Afghanistan/Pakistan, and the problems will not go away until U.S./NATO forces get out. Every country has problems, but for reasons best known to Washington and the Pentagon, the U.S. has created an absolute debacle in the Afghan/Pakistan area. When you have gone the problems basic to Afghanistan will still remain, but they cannot be solved whilst U.S./NATO personnel remain there. Please do everybody a favour and get out, stop carrying “the white man’s burden”, stop trying to change their customs and way of life, forget the “noble mission” whatever it is supposed to be, and let the Afghans run their own country. You have been trying to do, whatever it is that you have in mind, for ten years, and failed completely. Allow the locals to have a go at solving their own problems. The end result of their efforts cannot be any worse than yours. A lot of people may or may not be killed, but so far your efforts have resulted in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and others being bombed into the “stone age”, well over half a million dead civilians, infrastructures in a tangled mess, valuable resources such as oil stolen, and close to a hundred million people struggling to get their lives back in order. The Afghan people cannot solve these type of problems whilst U.S. personnel are throwing grenades into their houses and urinating on their dead bodies.


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