BBC World News & Al Jazeera – 2011-11-26 01:52:50
NATO Helicopters ‘Attack Pakistan Checkpoint’
BBC World News
(November 26, 2011) — Pakistani officials have accused NATO helicopters of firing on a military checkpoint near Pakistan’s Afghan border, killing up to eight soldiers. A military spokesman said the attack had taken place in the Pakistani tribal region of Mohmand.
NATO said it was aware of “an incident” near the border and that it was investigating.
The Pakistani military said it was an “unprovoked and indiscriminate” attack. “Casualties have been reported and details are awaited,” a military spokesman said.
The alleged attack took place at the Salala checkpost, about 1.5 miles (2.5 km) from the Afghan border, Reuters reports, at around 02:00 local time (21:00 GMT). “The firing left seven soldiers and one major dead,” an unnamed local intelligence official told Agence France Presse.
Pakistani troops are involved in fighting the Taliban in the crucial border region area. Some 5,000 militants have been resisting attempts by the security forces to clear them from southern and southeastern parts of the district.
The US has been targeting militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas near the Afghan border for several months. Last year, US helicopters accidentally killed two Pakistani soldiers near the border, prompting Pakistan to temporarily close the border to supplies shipped through the country to NATO troops in Afghanistan.
In October, Pakistan’s army chief Ashfaq Kayani warned the US against taking unilateral action in nearby North Waziristan. He said that the US should focus on stabilising Afghanistan instead of pushing Pakistan to attack militant groups in the crucial border region. Washington has for many years urged Islamabad to deal with militants in the area.
NATO Forces ‘Attack’ Pakistan Military Post
(November 26, 2011) — NATO helicopters from Afghanistan have intruded into northwest Pakistan and attacked a military check post near the border, killing eight troops and wounding four, Pakistani intelligence officials say. A military spokesman confirmed Saturday’s pre-dawn attack in the tribal region of Mohmand and said casualties had been reported, but gave no details.
Al Jazeera’s Imtiaz Tyab, reporting from Islamabad, said that the Pakistani military described the NATO operation as “indiscriminate firing” along the Pakistan-Afghan border.
The checkpoint that was attacked had been recently set up in Salala village by the Pakistan army to stop Taliban fighters holed up in Afghanistan from crossing the border and staging attacks, said two government administrators in Mohmand, Maqsood Hasan and Hamid Khan.
A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in the Afghan capital, Kabul, said the coalition there was aware of “an incident” near the border and was gathering more information. US helicopters accidentally killed two Pakistani soldiers near the border last year, prompting Pakistan to temporarily close the border to supplies shipped through the country to NATO troops in Afghanistan.
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