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Pakistan rejects NATO airstrike probe report

Friday December 23, 2011 03:52:43 PM, IANS

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Islamabad: Pakistan has rejected the report of an investigation into last month's NATO airstrike that left two dozen Pakistani soldiers dead, saying it is "short on facts".

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that the Pakistani Army "does not agree with the findings of the US/NATO inquiry as being reported in the media".

"The inquiry report is short on facts," it said, adding: "Detailed response will be given as and when the formal report is received."

The Nov 26 airstrike on two border checkposts in Mohmand Agency left 24 soldiers dead, sparking outrage in the country. Islamabad promptly barred the passage of NATO supplies through the country, boycotted the Bonn conference that discussed the future course of action in Afghanistan and told the US to vacate the key Shamsi airbase that was used to launch drone attacks.

A probe by the Pentagon has concluded that the NATO bombing of two Pakistani border posts last month was unintentional and stressed that "inadequate coordination" between the US and Pakistani security forces was to be blamed for the air strikes.

The alliance forces have "acted in self defence", the Pentagon said Thursday.

"The investigating officer found that US forces, given what information they had available to them at the time, acted in self defence and with appropriate force after being fired upon," a Pentagon statement said.

"He also found that there was no intentional effort to target persons or places known to be part of the Pakistani military, or to deliberately provide inaccurate location information to Pakistani officials."

NATO spokesman Colonel Gregory Julian said in Brussels: "The investigation has ascertained that a series of mistakes were made on both sides in failing to properly coordinate their locations and actions, both before the operation and during the resulting engagement."

Xinhua quoted sources as saying that US ambassador Cameron Munter met Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir late Thursday evening at the Foreign Office and delivered the report.

Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit had earlier said that Pakistan will look at the findings very carefully and then articulate a response.

The Pakistani army and civilian leadership have sought action against those responsible for the attack, which has dented ties between the US and Pakistan.






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