Officials: U.S. talked with Pakistan before fatal airstrike
Pakistan government photo of smoke rising following cross border NATO air strike
December 2nd, 2011
04:59 PM ET

Officials: U.S. talked with Pakistan before fatal airstrike

By Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr

U.S. officials said American forces checked first with their Pakistani counterparts before launching a controversial, fatal airstrike last weekend - though such claims have not resonated among authorities in Islamabad, who officially shut down NATO movement inside that nation Friday.

Some 24 Pakistani troops were killed in the November 26 strike, which has prompted vigorous criticism in Pakistan and spurred its Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to say that Islamabad is now reevaluating its relationship with Washington.

According to two U.S. officials familiar with the initial assessment of the incident, U.S. commandos were working alongside Afghan troops when they came under fire in a poorly marked border area. The troops did not tell Pakistani authorities about the mission ahead of time, because they thought it would take place entirely within Afghanistan.

The U.S. officials declined to be identified, citing the sensitive nature of the information. They also stressed that a more thorough investigation is ongoing, which could turn up new information. That probe, headed by U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Stephen Clark, is due on December 23.

Before calling in airstrikes, the U.S. forces checked with a Pakistani liaison team. They were not seeking permission - because the airstrikes were described as a matter of self-defense - but were making sure Pakistani troops weren't in what was called a poorly marked border area, the officials said.

After that consultation, the U.S. believed there were no Pakistani forces nearby, which turned out not to be true.

NATO later called the subsequent mass casualties caused by the strike "tragic (and) unintended." U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta have called the incident a "tragedy" and offered condolences, though Washington has yet to issue a formal apology.

One of the U.S. officials said it wasn't clear if the Pakistanis just didn't know their forces were in the vicinity or didn't understand the location the U.S. forces were talking about.

"Mistakes were made on both sides," one U.S. official said.

Pakistani officials, for their part, have not given any indication that their forces had any communication with NATO troops ahead of the attack. In recent days, in fact, they have taken more and more steps aimed at the military coalition - which continues to be active in Afghanistan and also has gone at times into Pakistan, including for the mission that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden this year.

That continued Friday, when Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said that NATO and International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, supplies would no longer be routed through Pakistan.

Pakistan's Cabinet and its defense committee unanimously approved this measure, which mirrors a parliamentary resolution passed in May after U.S. forces killed bin Laden in Abbottabad without Pakistan's consent. Parliament would have to approve a reversal of this new policy, Khar said.

"We want to be partners with the world, in this effort to bring peace and stability to the region. But not at the cost of Pakistan's own sovereignty and territorial integrity," she told reporters.

The implementation of this policy follows like-minded, if less definitive, moves made this week.

Specifically, Pakistani authorities turned back 300 trucks carrying NATO supplies and fuel into Afghanistan on Monday. The next day, the Cabinet "noted with satisfaction" that supply lines had been closed and a request had been made for the United States to vacate the Shamsi Air Base.

Pakistan has also decided to boycott a conference on the future of Afghanistan set for next Monday in Bonn, Germany.

Besides whether or not there was advance notice of the strike, there are many other points of contention between Pakistan and U.S. officials.

One has to do with the reported firing on U.S. and Afghan forces, which allegedly prompted the airstrike. A U.S. official said that the Clark-led investigation is trying to determine who shot at the allied troops. Pakistan's military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, has denied that Pakistani troops prompted the attack by firing on NATO helicopters, insisting that the NATO forces fired first on Pakistani military checkpoints.

A U.S. official on Friday suggested that the strike's targets were not standard military outposts, but more like "encampments." "There were a bunch of tents, there was no base, there was no walled compound," the official said.

Journalist Shaan Khan contributed to this report.

soundoff (419 Responses)
  1. Ricardo

    A consumer is a spehpor who is sore about something. Nowadays shopping has become a trend and people buy different products and give it to their loved ones on different occasions.

    April 4, 2012 at 10:26 am | Reply
  2. artillery man {come get s0me}

    you fucking Jew i wish Hitler burned u all there the bastards in this war and u guys pick there side fuck u they got what they deserve fuck nuts god if u like them so much go back to your own country and fight with them god dam cowards fuck u all seriously i wish we cold just bomb the fucking hell out of the middle east they killed to many Americans already i think its time we do what we did in ww2 and drop a few a-bombs on there ass and call it over

    December 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Reply
    • shut your mouth

      I don't give a fuck at least we killen somebody

      December 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  3. vishal

    only economics sanction and watch

    December 12, 2011 at 10:02 am | Reply
  4. 20th Stryker Soldier

    Boo Hoo. I dont give a FLYING FUCK about any Pakistanis. I say lets go in there and kille em all !!!!!!

    December 5, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  5. Sikandar Khan - Sr Repotar, Abotabad News Network

    Heloo falks. I hail from Faislabad Pakistan as freelund repotar to gave you blow by blow of what is go on behaind the back of Pakistan in Bonn German. It is sham USA kill many soljar on Afghan Pak boder forcing Pakistan to baycot Bonn. Some say this was USA grand plan from begining only. Only tame will tell. Anyway so far confrance is going ok no commant by any candidate. Soon as I com by they quite down and hush hush so I am not able to get inside info on anything.Rumor is Pakistan is not being missed much as Mr Krishna from India is showing off and become very chummy with Hillary, Kerzai and Euro leaders who is double crosser to Pakistan anyway. To make matters worstest, Germany served excellant lunch buffet of all Pakistani choice, to entice Pakistani offcials to change ther mind and come to this conference. This is an insult. Anyway the food was most delicious and included Shahi Biryani, Tandoori Chicken, Mughlai Lamb, Mutton Korma, Zafrani Pilaf with small raisins and big nuts, 26 different vegetable dishes of Indian names I can't pronounce, (of course to kiss up to India as usual). There was naan, raita and some pungent pickles. In dessert I had Rasgoola, Galab Jaman, Ras Malai and my favorat Feerni. The attendees have all left for more conference for the afternoon session. So far rumor is Pakistan should have bin here to at least fight with India for what they want before everything in Afghanistan is divid up and taken and all we get is scraps. But as usual Pak leaders do exact opposite of what world is doing. Anyway I am drowsy after this heavy meal so I will pretend to be sleeping with one eye and ear open to catch the gossip and repot back to you.
    Sikandar Khan – Bonn Germany, Pakistan Zindabad !!

    December 5, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  6. ranger 830

    HAhahahahahahaha they have been shooting at us across the border for years now and blaming the taliban or haqqanis!!!!! Thats what you get you lying two faced Paki backstabbers!!!! Pick to many fights you cant win and this is the outcome! Serves you right! See you soon in waziristan!!!!! Sleep tight we will be watching you!!!!!

    December 5, 2011 at 11:13 am | Reply
  7. Cardno

    This is interesting. So the US terrorist army is now claiming that they informed the pakistani's before the air assault. How would that conversation have gone? Something like; "Hello, the US Army here, we would like permission to bomb two border posts on your territory and make sure that at least 24 of the sleeping soldiers get killed.". Yeah right, a moron if you believe that.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:10 am | Reply
  8. White_but_KKK_is_G@Y

    Why don't you shut your mouth, you poorly informed white trash. As a desendant of Eastern European Jew who practices Catholicism, and 100% white bred, I must tell you that you are completely misrepresenting the white community by even raising any sort of affiliation of thought apon us. The KKK and any j@ackass who uses their logic, or argues apon their behalf, must be nothing but some kentucky inbred who jerks to Red Dawn.

    The Jews are forever part of our history, as is the native american, the african american and latino american. They will always be forever our ally. Their so interwined with our christian belief and with WWII decimating the Jewish European lineage, I think Americans have always been sympathetic to Jew's history and rightly so. I'm proud to say that the concensus of Americans I've bullsh!tted with have predominantly thought of Jews as having bad luck, and though anti-semitism was unneccesary. Germans eeked em off; the Egyptians watched them build the pyramids, and the world has seen the Bosnian crisises which was rooted by religious genocide. Their people are good people, not bomb-hiding low-life tribal maniacs. I'd much rather deal with Israeli in diplomats than the backstabbers of the Middle East.

    The Allys we thought we had with the Afghans, after arming them in the '70's against the Red Army, only turned out to be money-mooching traitors. Be gone with any diplomatic relations with a region that obviously hates us all and wishes nothing but fire to reign down from Allaj on us supposed "infedels". God Bless America!

    December 3, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Reply
    • Ali

      Congratulation to my former room mate in ldmdie east. so happy for. God has saved you and your carrier from undesirable elements. am almost there too. Congrat once again.

      April 7, 2012 at 12:06 am | Reply
  9. levend

    So typical blame others for mistakes

    December 3, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Reply
  10. Michael

    So Pakistani troops were attempting to kill American troops. We blew them up, and we are the bad guys? They started the fire fight and lost. That is their fault.

    December 3, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Reply
  11. crawbar

    ... and, besides, KKK, you shur up yourself. As KKK member, you have the least moral right to pronounce anything...

    December 3, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Reply
  12. crawbar

    KuKluxKlan: "Shut up you idiotic Zionist scum. Israel's creation was due to the US, and the US Green lit the Israeli preemptive strike in the war of 1967. Israel also had support from British and French forces in the Suez Crisis. Israeli's fuckers keep screaming anti-semitism, but now they're the ones who're anti-semetic by killing their Arab brothers. But yes, the Arabian brothers are not all innocent themselves, such as Hamas shooting rockets into Israel, but as the famous Jewish scholar Avi Shlaim says, its just a placebo to let Zionists cry to the states."

    Hey, KKK, US voted for establishment of Israel state after the USSR, it was shame not to vote then. Besides, Jews set up Israel not asking anybody's permission before Usrael was established as state by UN. The next day after the vote arabs started the war and Israel won it with practically no weapon. The 6 day war Israel fought with French mirages, US was still politicking and their Liberty ship was spying for Egypt. You obviously do not like when Israelis defend themselves and kill their killer-brothers. Everybody kills, but Israelis must not even in self-defence. Screwed up logic and love for Jews.

    December 3, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Reply
  13. crawbar

    We are talking and talking and talking and they are in the meantime erecting a mosque commemorating their victory at the place of their victory – Ground Zero. With the help of our liberals btw... You are asking me why I hate our liberals? That is why.

    December 3, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Reply
    • Jeff

      Shut up 🙂

      December 3, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Reply
      • crawbar

        mather facker

        December 3, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • christianbrother

      The Christians brought their churches to North and South America in order to rob the native people of their land, wealth, culture and history. When a new Christian church goes up in a foreign country we do not claim this another example of Christians preparing to purge natives like they did in South America, we give them the benefit of a doubt and understand that was a very different time.

      The world is a complex place. If you look hard enough you can find evidence of anything. The difficult part is understanding why you want so much to believe something that you are willing to overlook all contradictory evidence or even worse, not seeking out contradicting evidence at all.

      December 3, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Reply
    • jimmer

      this has nothing to do with the story....shut up

      December 3, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Reply
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