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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Air strikes by NATO helicopters on Pakistan


NATO helicopters struck three posts in Pakistan s Mohmand tribal region, bordering Afghanistan, late Friday night and killed 28 soldiers and injured 15 others, sources as said. Foreign Officer Spokesperson, Tehmina Janjua, said that Pakistan is considering blocked of supplies to NATO forces in neighbouring Afghanistan after the incident. Local media has reported that Pakistani authorities have already suspended supplies. The spokesperson was quoted by local TV channels as describing the NATO strikes as  attack on Pakistan s sovereignty . She confirmed that Pakistan has formally lodged protest with the U.S. State Department in Washington. Local TV channels reported that Pakistani diplomats in Washington conveyed a formal protest to the U.S. officials and demanded immediate inquiry. The spokesperson said Pakistan has also started its own investigation and is collecting details of the incident, which has sparked widespread condemnation in the country. "We will review several options after investigations are completed," she said. "Suspension of NATO supplies could be one of the options," she added. Barrister Masood Kausar, Governor of north-western Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Province, who is also in-charge of tribal affairs, condemned the NATO strike and said Pakistan will raise the issue at different forms. In a statement he warned that Pakistan could take counter action if NATO carries out attacks on Pakistani posts. Sources said that NATO helicopters entered Pakistani airspace in Mohmand tribal region from fghanistan and fired at least three border posts, killing 28 soldiers and injuring 15 others. All posts were also destroyed. The strike was widely condemned by Pakistani political leaders and called for halt to NATO supplies. Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned and termed the strike as  open terrorism . They called for immediate inquiry into the incident. The US commander in Afghanistan on Saturday promised a full investigation after Pakistan said a NATO air strike killed at least 23 soldiers, sending his condolences over any troops who may have died. "This incident has my highest personal attention and my commitment to thoroughly investigate it to determine the facts," said General John Allen, commander of NATO s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). "My most sincere and personal heartfelt condolences go out to the families and loved ones of any members of Pakistan security forces who may have been killed or injured," he added in a statement. In the six months since US commandos killed Osama bin Laden near the Pakistani capital Islamabad without prior warning, Pakistani and US and Afghan officials have traded increasing complaints about cross-border attacks. ISAF said Saturday it remained "committed to improving security relations" with Pakistan, including the coordination of operations along the border -- in many places unmarked -- "in our united fight against terrorism". US ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, also express regret and reiterated promises of an investigation. "I regret the loss of life of any Pakistani servicemen and pledge that the United States will work closely with Pakistan to investigate this incident," he said in a short statement released by the American embassy. In September 2010, Pakistan shut the main land route for NATO supplies at Torkham for 11 days after accusing NATO of killing three Pakistani troops in another attack in its northwest. The border was reopened after the United States formally apologised.

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