NATO raid upshot: Angry Pakistan threatens to derail Afghan endgame

Published: November 28, 2011

Couresy: Xpress Tribune

ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan buried its dead from Saturday’s attack on a border check post by Nato troops, the government looked for more ways to express its anger against Nato and the United States for the incident. On Sunday, it threatened to review its role in facilitating talks with insurgents and re-think its participation in next month’s Bonn conference.

Revisit engagement

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani told Express News that Pakistan “will revisit its engagement with the US, Nato and the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf)” while an unnamed Pakistani official said that the country’s security establishment has already halted “all efforts to persuade the Afghan Taliban to come to the negotiating table.”

On Saturday, Pakistan decided to shut down key Nato supply routes, ask the US to vacate a remote airbase in Balochistan and review ties with Washington. Pakistan has also protested to Afghanistan over the attacks. It said that the use of Afghan territory against Pakistan was a violation of Isaf’s mandate for operations in Afghanistan.

For its part, the US Central Command said that it will conduct its own investigation into Nato’s involvement. General James Mattis, who heads the command, is expected to appoint an investigating officer by Monday. Nato officials privately insist that their troops were attacked first, a charge that the Pakistan military strongly denies.

A Pentagon spokesman said that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta were closely monitoring reports of the incident. Spokesman John Kirby added: “Both offer their deepest condolences for the loss of life.”

Clinton, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force and of US Forces in Afghanistan, each called their Pakistani counterparts, the Pentagon spokesman said. Cameron P. Munter, US ambassador to Pakistan, also met with Pakistani officials in Islamabad.

Clinton and Panetta both stressed “the importance of the US-Pakistani partnership.” Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasumussen, however, fell short of a formal apology, and instead tweeted that the airstrike was a “tragic unintended incident,” adding “the death of Pakistani personnel are as unacceptable and deplorable as the deaths of Afghan and international personnel.”


Categories: Asia, Pakistan

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