While Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani gave his troops “full liberty” to respond to any cross-border attacks by Nato forces on Friday, the Wall Street Journal has reported that the NATO strikes on 26 November that killed 24 Pakistani troops, were carried out only after Pakistani officials at a border coordination center gave the go-ahead to US forces. It further says Pakistani authorities were unaware that their own forces were in the area. The While House has also issued a statement saying that the Nato attacks were being investigated and no apologies would be issued, just yet.
The paper further reports:
The border-control center is manned by US, Afghan and Pakistani representatives who are supposed to share information and head off conflicts. But the US and Afghan forces conducting the Nov. 26 commando operation hadn’t notified the center in advance that they planned to strike Taliban insurgents near that part of the border, the official said.
When called, the Pakistani representatives at the center said there were no Pakistani military forces in the area identified by the commandos, clearing the way for the Americans to conduct the airstrikes, the US officials said.
The US maintains that on 26 November, a commander mistakenly identified Pak army posts as Taliban training camps in the tribal region of Mohmand, and launched the attack only after checking that there were no Pakistani forces nearby. But Pakistani officials refuse to believe that the attack was an accident as the US has in the past resisted from sharing information of future attacks with Pakistan, fearing that the missions’ details could leak out.
Following this incident, which came a few months after US unilaterally raided the garrison town of Abbottabad and killed Osama bin Laden, Pakistan has shut its borders to Nato supply convoys in protest. It also said it would give the Bonn conference on the future of Afghanistan a miss. Today, the country also blocked the BBC, and warned other foreign channels of similar action if they broadcast “anti-Pakistan material”.