Well, isn’t this Awkward?Posted: November 26, 2011 Filed under: Foreign Affairs, Pakistan | Tags: friendly fire, NATO troops kill Pakistani Soldiers 7 Comments
It seems NATO Air Strikes have killed about 28 Pakistani forces in Pakistan. Isn’t that considered an act of war in most books? Either our air support technology isn’t what it is supposed to be or more than a few folks need better training. The press is saying that tensions are high between Pakistan and NATO right now. I’d say that’s probably an understatement.
Pakistani officials said Saturday that NATO aircraft had killed at least 25 soldiers in strikes against two military posts at the northwestern border with Afghanistan, and the country’s supreme army commander called them unprovoked acts of aggression, in a new flash point between the United States and Pakistan.
The Pakistani government responded by ordering the C.I.A. to vacate the drone operations it runs from Shamsi Air Base, in northern Pakistan, within 15 days and by closing down the two main NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, including the one at Torkham. NATO forces receive roughly 40 percent of their supplies through that crossing, which runs through the Khyber Pass, and Pakistani officials gave no estimate for how long the routes might be closed.
In Washington, American officials were scrambling to assess what had happened and weigh the implications on a relationship that took a sharp turn for the worse after a United States military helicopter raid killed Osama bin Laden near Islamabad in May, and that has deteriorated since then.
“It seems quite extraordinary that we’d just nail these posts the way they say we did,” said one senior American official who was in close touch with American and NATO officials in Pakistan and Afghanistan early Saturday. “Whether they were going after people or whether there was some firing from the Afghan side of the border, then the Pakistan side, we just don’t know. It’s real murky right now. Clearly, something went very wrong.”
The American ambassador in Islamabad, Cameron Munter, called an emergency meeting and expressed regret over the Pakistani casualties. And Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, offered condolences to families of the dead and promised an investigation. “This incident has my highest personal attention and my commitment to thoroughly investigate it to determine the facts,” he said in a statement.
According to The UK Guardian, NATO is claiming self-defense.
An attack by Nato aircraft on Pakistani troops that allegedly killed as many as 28 soldiers and looks set to further poison relations between the US and Pakistan was an act of self-defence, a senior western official has claimed.
According to the Kabul-based official, a joint US-Afghan force operating in the mountainous Afghan frontier province of Kunar was the first to come under attack in the early hours of Saturday morning, forcing them to return fire.
The high death toll from an incident between two supposed allies suggests Nato helicopters and jets strafed Pakistani positions with heavy weapons.
The deadliest friendly fire incident since the start of the decade-long war also prompted Pakistan to ban Nato supply trucks from crossing into Afghanistan and to issue an order demanding the US quit the remote Shamsi airbase, from which the US has operated some unmanned drone aircraft.
A spokesman for Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said it was “highly likely” that aircraft which had been called into the area to provide “close air support” to troops on the ground was responsible for causing casualties among the Pakistani soldiers.
For their part, a statement by the Pakistani military claimed that it was they who were attacked first, forcing them to respond to Nato’s “aggression with all available weapons”.
According to Pakistani officials the 40 or so soldiers stationed at the outposts were asleep at the time of the attack. Government officials said the two border posts that were attacked had recently been established to try to stop insurgents who use bases in Afghanistan to attack Pakistan from crossing the border and launching attacks.
We’ve gotten a reputation for collateral damage in the area. This certainly isn’t going to help. It will be interesting to see how this plays on the Sunday Talk shows.
Pakistan has cut of supplies as retaliation so far.
Pakistan is a vital land route for nearly half of NATO supplies shipped overland to its troops in Afghanistan, a NATO spokesman said. Land shipments account for about two thirds of the alliance’s cargo shipments into Afghanistan.
Hours after the raid, NATO supply trucks and fuel tankers bound for Afghanistan were stopped at Jamrud town in the Khyber tribal region near the city of Peshawar, officials said.
The border crossing at Chaman in southwestern Baluchistan province was also closed, Frontier Corps officials said.
A meeting of the cabinet’s defense committee convened by Gilani “decided to close with immediate effect NATO/ISAF logistics supply lines,” according to a statement issued by Gilani’s office.
The committee decided to ask the United States to vacate, within 15 days, the Shamsi Air Base, a remote installation in Baluchistan used by U.S. forces for drone strikes which has long been at the center of a dispute between Islamabad and Washington.
The last thing we need is major screw ups like this. Bet Hillary’s on that 3 am phone call again.
Empire ain’t easy.
Especially for ignorant, incompetent boobs.
Which perfectly describes both — both sides lie — both sides cover up.
Both sides always do it and it only makes everything worse.
I think about two years ago I watched a news report, maybe it was on sixty minutes, I’m not sure, that stated this region is the most difficult to police and it’s where al Queda bases its operations.
it seems as if Pakistan has a Dr. Jekylly, Mr. Hyde situation in regards to Al Queda. If Al Queda fire fights from this region, they put Pakistan troops in danger, and this is the result.
Or, is it all just to keep war going since it is such a profit center for some?
They were supposedly after the Taliban.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH for posting this!
I love visiting your site – keep up the great work!