U.S. official: Pakistan was called before NATO fired
Pakistani security and government officials offer funeral prayers for the Pakistani soldiers who were killed in a NATO strike in Peshawar on November 27, 2011.
November 28th, 2011
12:14 PM ET

U.S. official: Pakistan was called before NATO fired

By Barbara Starr

A U.S. military-led investigation into a weekend firing incident that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers is focusing on what failures occurred in the military-to-military coordinating mechanisms that resulted in U.S. aircraft inadvertently killing the troops, according to two senior U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the initial reporting on the incident.

One of the officials told CNN the initial reporting indicates U.S. and Afghan forces operating on the Afghan side of the border indicated they were coming under fire from shots fired across the border from inside Pakistan. Those troops requested air support from the international coalition, which was then provided by helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft firing from Afghan airspace across into Pakistan.

The official noted that there are strong coordinating mechanisms in these incidents which include NATO and U.S. commanders calling their Pakistani counterparts and also checking with Pakistani liaison officers inside Afghanistan. The official said the U.S. believes the Pakistanis “were called” to warn of the pending firing, but he added “at this point we just don’t know exactly what coordination was done.”

The Pakistani military insisted Monday it had not fired first in the incident, and it said it had told NATO its aircraft were firing on friendly troops.

He believes the U.S. aircraft fired against two border checkpoints, but cautioned again that the information is based on initial reports. He also said there are indications both Apache helicopters and an AC-130 gunship might have been used.

It’s believed the entire incident from the time the initial troops came under fire in Afghanistan to the conclusion of the firing at the border posts lasted about two hours. The aircraft did not enter Pakistan airspace, he said.

In looking at what failed in the coordination of the air attack, the official said it’s a known tactic of insurgents to fire into Afghanistan from very close Pakistan border checkpoints because they believe it will give them sanctuary. In some cases it’s believed insurgents have paid off or intimidated Pakistani forces to leave the checkpoints.

The U.S. military has already begun what is known as a Joint Investigation and Assessment Team to gather initial information on the incident. The U.S. is “strongly placing our hopes in de-escalating this” through the investigation, the official said.

Officials are deliberately taking a close-mouthed approach to discussing the incident because they believe any public statements will raise tensions inside Pakistan and in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, he said.

For now, the closing of the border to vehicle traffic will not unduly impact the re-supply effort for the war, but any further actions by the Pakistanis could pose serious impacts, the official said.

soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Zackary Sumstad


    March 6, 2021 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  2. Peter

    You might want to go wipe out all other nations as they talk shit about US too.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Reply
  3. rk from US

    next time pakis..pl tell taliban to lead NATO all the way to ISI headquaters......hahahah.....

    November 29, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  4. science matters

    You know you a pakistani when 1. You own $ 300 machine gun & a $5000 rocket launcher but run around barefoot. 2 You have more wives than teeth. 3 You think vests come in two styles: bullet-proof & suicide. 4 You can't think of anyone u haven't declared Jihad on. 5 You consider TV dangerous but routinely carry ammunition in your underwear . 6 You are amazed to discover that mobile phones have uses other than setting off road-side bombs. 7 You refine cocaine for a living but have a moral objection to drinking beer.

    November 29, 2011 at 9:10 am | Reply
    • frank


      November 29, 2011 at 11:40 am | Reply
    • salman

      i'm pakistani. i don't leave my own room without either flip-flops or shoes and don't own any guns or rockets. i've got an average amount teeth and only plan to have one wife because two or more is way too hard to manage. i don't like vests, i prefer french-cuffed dress shirts. i don't care for jihad as we've progressed too far into society for all muslims to be united for one cause (except when it comes to ending genocides, because we'd rather the jews be alive and settling palestine than rotting because allah says they're his chosen people in the quran). TV is a fun past-time when i'm not studying for an honors bio test. i don't think there's and app for that and i don't care because i use phones to talk to people, not blow them up. i don't use any drugs, besides claritin because of my severe allergy to dust-mites. please stop confusing me with those darn saudi mullahs. it's offensive.

      November 29, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Reply
    • Peter

      Well nice stereotyping that borders on racism

      November 30, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Reply
  5. Toni

    Pakistan is a rouge state that is about so a failed state. The only state policy they know of is nuclear blackmail, state sponsored terrorism, brinkmanship. It is time to declare Pakistan a terrist state and put sanctions on it

    November 29, 2011 at 7:35 am | Reply
  6. m

    Given the ineptitude of the Paki military they probably weren't trained in picking up the phone.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:14 am | Reply
  7. Jack B.

    Pakistan created the Taliban back in the days the Soviets had their troops in the country, and there are growing Islamist factions in Pakistan who support them to this day, quite possibly with funds diverted from the aid the country gets from the US. Since the Afghanistan war is not winnable anyway, we should cut our losses and leave now, and simultaneously end the aid to Pakistan.

    Have you ever asked yourself why India is a thriving democracy and Pakistan is teetering on the brink of both economic and political disaster? One important reason is that India is not a Muslim country...

    November 28, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Reply
    • Mark Levy

      India is not a muslim country and you Jack are not a bright guy for saying that kind of stupid stuff!

      November 29, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Reply
    • bob

      You yankees have no clue about factual realitites and talk from their behinds. . Pakistan was doing very well.better than India beofre the war on terror.After it alligned itself with the USA as an ally on war on terror all hell broke loose. We lost economically supporting US activities, we lost ove 40000 civillinas who had to take the brunt of the Talibans anger and also the drones killed many a civillins as colloborative damage. We soon realized as lomg as the US troops were prtected, the lives of anyone else in the region was irrelevant-women,children and men. India on the other hand did not get involved in the war on terror expcept for providng moral support and recthing up anti pak sentiments . They did concentrate in developing their economy. It is still not too late tp leave USA as an ally . Let them fight their own war. I am an American educated young man and I couldnt care about the Talibans same as I couldnt care about the Bible thuming Bible area Christain zealots who are similar to the Taliban in theoir thinking. But I cannot side with USA any more. They have lost the moral ground!!

      November 29, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Reply
    • bob

      Have you asked why you were never allowed to interfere in the internal affairs of India which as always followed a neutral policy. Also did you know that the gretest number of Muslims-more than Pakistan do reside in India. And such Muslims like myself say very clearly-,"Hands off India".Don't you dare interfere!

      November 29, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Reply
      • Te

        More than 96% Muslim Indians live below poverty line according to Indian Government stats. india is not a democracy as it is a nation where more than 8000 kashmiri women have been raped by indian military officials and many more freedom movements going on in Nagaland (christian separatist movement), Assam and then there are the Maoists who are tired of being raped and murdered. Some democracy.
        The only rogue states are the ones waging false wars on other nations and minting money by fueling wars in the middle east.
        I can barely imagine how stupid some people are for thinking that we run bare foot and have dozens of wives.
        Low IQs.

        December 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Noor

      Jack B – You have no right to have 'Muslims' specially in our statement. Huh? India? Right! India is currently facing a setback in their economy. So is America. So is Germany. So is Africa. So is Libya. So is Iraq. So is Plaestine. What if I blame the setback of the economy because of Americans living there? Would you like it if I do so? No you won't But here you mentioned Muslims right away. Muslims have had the strongest of economies in the past. Since your country started to poke in their noses and started to give out their policies, not only few countries but now the whole world is facing the setback. Everything is right in front of you. and political disaster? This was just to tell you never to bring in the religion in between.

      December 10, 2011 at 5:30 am | Reply
  8. 20th Stryker Soldier

    Stryker Division to the rescue. I hope to Kill all the Muslims ! Please give us our marching orders. We will do our constitutional duty and kill them all with dispatch and efficiency.

    November 28, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Reply
    • Danial

      Yo,Stryker boy,Just though I would let you know that I passed your hate filled post on to Fort Hood and have
      asked them to monitor your post, But the truth is that your not in the Stryker force any ways,They have honour and that's something you will never have

      November 29, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Reply
    • Emperor Palapatine

      execute order 66

      November 30, 2011 at 8:29 am | Reply
  9. thepakiman

    Hmmm M4 Skull F_cker , sassey & matt, I am happy that there are still some educated people running USA, if it was up to folks like you with no college education ,who sit on you rear ends all day worry about US tax payer $$$, at least have the courage to ask the right questions, one of should be... Why are you still there and spending $1B a week??? Do you even know how much did you give the Pakistan? You give them money because of US interests not charity…Outsourcing your dirty work!!!

    November 28, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  10. Awabnavi

    The WHITES are treacherous MASS MURDERERS. They virtually killed off the NATIVES of the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, etc., and took over their lands and now call it THEIR COUNTRY. They are now trying to do the same thing in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, etc. They even eliminated SIX MILLIONS Jews and then shipped the rest of them to that nation created by them called Israel.

    November 28, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Reply
    • ep tor

      OK? And now "us whites" are well on the way to eliminating non-modernized (backward) militant Muslims aka "deeply conservative" as per CNN's pitiable misrepresentaion. We are currently looking for a suitable "home land" to resettle you and your kind. It seems Persia might become available shortly.

      November 29, 2011 at 12:41 am | Reply
      • Mister Jones

        No. Persia is about to beome one big glass bowl.

        November 29, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
      • Walter

        Good luck, Pakistan has nukes and Iran will soon have them too

        December 1, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  11. sassey

    The money we give to the Paki's government most probably shared with Paki's Taliban. They want us to differ the government from Taliban – but this is all the same crap. Strip them from U.S. taxpayers money donation fund, and use it to restore our economy.

    November 28, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Reply
    • GetReal

      Then, how will we supply our troops in Afghanistan after Pakistan responds by cutting off our only supply route?

      November 28, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Reply
    • Bobby

      yes I agree with you. Stop paying Pakistan and let Pakistan stop moving the supplies on their roads which are totally destroyed because of moving these heavy equipment. What he USA spends on Pakistan is less then what Pakistan has to spend in maintaing services for USA. Pakistan should back off from this fake war on terror and close its border completly. USA should get out of this region and go mend their own economy. Stop killing and brutalizing innocent people. USA has now killed thousands and thousands of innocent people in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      November 28, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Reply
      • Emperor Palapatine

        innocent terrorist and jihadist's.Go smoke your magic cigars, Jackwagon

        November 30, 2011 at 8:35 am |
  12. Altec

    Did NATO say "Can you hear me now?" before firing?

    November 28, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Reply
    • Mister Jones


      November 28, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  13. matt

    Pakistan is a double-faced ally. It should be treated as an enemy. The U.S. should not spend billions of dollars on this worthless supposed ally - a corrupt, untrustworthy country!

    November 28, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Reply
    • sassey

      Well said, Matt.

      November 28, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Reply
      • Bobby

        Every Asian country knows the double faced USA. Who wants it as an ally?

        November 28, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
      • Mister Jones

        I think Japan is a hell of a lot happier being our ally, as opposed to our enemy.

        November 29, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Emperor Palapatine

      Yep. Its like paying our corrupt government-a waste of money

      November 30, 2011 at 8:36 am | Reply
  14. Toni

    Pakistan Army's game is to show to the Taliban and the Islamists that it is at war with US. This it hopes will get Pakistani Taliban and AQ on its side and stop suicide attacks and assassinations of its officers. And also a potential mutiny by lower ranks.

    November 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  15. PacerLJ35

    It makes me mad to think that so many people back home think the US military simply roams around and does what it wants...they have no idea the incredible amount of coordination between various agencies and other countries to do the things we do on a daily basis. Pakistan knew what we were doing...they gave us the green light and then either lied about it to get some kind of "scandal" that will work in their favor, or were simply incompetent and now they are trying to save face by blaming the US...

    November 28, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Reply
    • Bobby

      Tell me how do you have the inside scoop?

      November 28, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Reply
      • PacerLJ35

        Because I'm deployed to Afghanistan with the USAF...

        November 30, 2011 at 7:43 am |
      • Peter

        Sure and NATO never make mistakes

        November 30, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  16. M4 Skull F_cker

    We are going into the region and clear out all those motherf()ckers. Bet on it. We will not allow sorry chumps like the Pakistanis to talk sh|t about our country and get away with it. Fry these muslim pieces of sh|t !

    November 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Reply
    • GetReal

      Thank you for spreading seeds of good will towards a sovereign country, who is allowing us to supply our troops via routes from inside their country. And, nice stereotyping of all Muslims, Mr F_cker.
      Don't you wonder what they think of you (and US because of your post)? Naw, I bet you don't even care.

      November 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Reply
      • Russ

        The sovereign country that had Bin laden 30 miles away from the Pak capital. The ISI that supports the Haqqani Taliban which kills American soldiers. and launched the raid on the US embassy on Sept 12. US money well spent!!. The paks say it won't be business as usual. AS SUPPOSED TO WHAT? For supplies there are other routes other than Pakistan. The soveriegn country whose country aids, warns and harbors those who kill not only American soldiers, but also Afghan troops, and civillians with IEDs, gunfire, torture and intimidation. The Taliban do this to Pakistani citizens who fight them and kidnap children so Pak villagers follow the Taliban way. It's up to the Pakistani government as to what future it wants. The bombing was a mistake. AS AN AMERICAN I AM SORRY! BUT IT IS TIME FOR PAKISTAN TO CHOOSE WHAT FUTURE IT WANTS!

        December 1, 2011 at 10:54 am |

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