REPORTING FROM ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan’s military on Friday rejected a Pentagon probe that concluded both Pakistan and the U.S. shared blame for a U.S.-led coalition attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers near the Afghan border, which severely strained relations between the two countries.
In a brief response to the Pentagon report, the Pakistani military said it did not agree with the report’s findings and deemed the Pentagon inquiry “short on facts.” Pakistan said it would provide a more detailed reply to the report at a later time. Pakistani military officials could not be reached for comment Friday.
Though Pakistan was still measuring its reaction, it appeared unlikely that the U.S. investigation into the Nov. 26 incident would resolve the latest in a series of major crises plaguing the beleaguered Washington-Islamabad alliance. Pakistani officials, Infuriated by the attack, shut down border crossings used by convoys delivering supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan, and ordered the U.S. to vacate an air base in southern Pakistan that in the past has been suspected as a launch pad for CIA drone attacks.
The American report’s findings, released Thursday, found that errors made by the U.S. played a role in the deaths of the Pakistani soldiers. Those mistakes included the use of incorrect mapping information that led to confusion about the actual location of Pakistani troops in the area where the firefight occurred.
But the investigation also determined that the incident was triggered by Pakistani soldiers who began firing at U.S. special operations troops carrying out a mission on the Afghan side of the border—an assertion that Pakistan strongly denies.
-- Alex Rodriguez
Photo : An anti-U.S. rally in Karachi, Pakistan, weeks after the deadly bombing. Credit : Asif Hassan AFP / Getty Images