Monday, December 26, 2011

Pakistan: Border Attack Report 'Short on Facts'

ISLAMABAD - The Pakistani military rejected the findings of the U.S. investigation into the NATO attacks on Pakistani border posts on the night of Nov. 25-26 that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Though no detailed rebuttal was made by the Pakistani military, Inter-Services Public Relations - the military's public relations arm - stated it did not agree with the U.S.'s findings and labeled them as being "short on facts."
Pakistan said a detailed response would be given when it received a formal report. No additional information from the military was forthcoming when contacted.
The U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement that the attacks were not intentional. The DoD found "inadequate coordination by U.S. and Pakistani military officers operating through the border coordination center - including our reliance on incorrect mapping information shared with the Pakistani liaison officer - resulted in a misunderstanding about the true location of Pakistani military units."
"This, coupled with other gaps in information about the activities and placement of units from both sides, contributed to the tragic result," the statement said.
The misidentification by the NATO forces of the Pakistani position rests on claims they were initially fired upon. However, the Pakistan military continues to deny that its troops opened fire first.
South Asia analyst and former Australian defense attaché to Islamabad, Brian Cloughley, called the report into question because of how the investigation was carried out.
"How can you have a proper investigation when only one side is involved?" Cloughley said. He called the investigation a "farce" due to Pakistan not being consulted.
Coughley said he does not think the report will improve relations between Pakistan and International Security Assistance Forces under NATO's command, which the Nov. 25 incident further damaged.
"I don't think there is a hope of recovery," he said.

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