US asks for Pakistan army secret info
Washington: US military officials urged Pakistan to regularly disclose classified information regarding Pakistani military facilities and installations along the border with Afghanistan, US media reported on Tuesday.
Commander of the US Central Command General James Mattis made the plea late Monday following a November 26 incident in which NATO helicopters and fighter jets attacked two military border posts in northwest Pakistan and killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, US based “Press-TV” reported on Tuesday.
“The strongest take-away from this incident is the fundamental fact that we must improve border coordination,” Mattis claimed in a statement.
He also called for establishing a shared database between the two countries, saying that an increase in information could help NATO forces in Pakistan avert similar incidents.
In addition, Mattis ordered the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to seek ways to improve its relations with Islamabad.
US Air Force Brigadier General Stephen Clark, who led an investigation into last month’s incident, said on Thursday that US forces bore some responsibility for the deaths as they relied on the wrong maps, were unaware of Pakistani border post locations and mistakenly provided the wrong location for the troops.
The investigation, however, claimed that the US forces “acted in self-defense and with appropriate force after being fired upon,” and 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.”
The Pakistani military has dismissed the investigation and said it does not “agree with the findings of the US/NATO inquiry as [it is] being reported in media.”
Pakistani officials accuse US-led forces of deliberately carrying out the air strikes from inside Afghanistan.
Following the November incident, US President Barack Obama offered condolences for those killed in the attack but failed to issue an official apology.
Pakistan decided to halt the supply convoys destined for US-led foreign soldiers in Afghanistan in retaliation for the deadly airstrikes and blockade has entered in second month which causing difficulties to foreign troops deployed in landlocked Afghanistan.
US-led planes and helicopters have increasingly violated the Pakistani airspace over the past months.
The US claims its drone raids target militants who cross the Pakistani border into Afghanistan. But locals say civilians are the main victims of the unauthorized attacks.