Saturday, November 26, 2011

NATO Official: Attack that killed up to 28 Afghan troops was self defense

       Official reactions to events such as these often amaze me. Yesterday one official said that the incident was being investigated and that it had not yet been determined if anyone had been killed or wounded. This was at the same time as another official was expressing condolences to families whose members had been killed or wounded. Now all of a sudden we have this suggestion that the attack was self defense.
     A Kabul-based official says that a joint US-Afghan force was attacked in the early hours of Saturday. This forced them to return fire. But the Pakistani soldiers who died were at a checkpoint that is supposed to be over one and a half miles from the border and clearly marked. If anyone attacked the joint force it was no doubt insurgents and probably some distance away unless the troop had crossed the border. To be fair there is often doubt about where the border is.
     The Pakistani military say that their forty troops or so at the checkpoint were asleep at the time and that the attack was unprovoked. The US Afghan force called in close air support. Both helicopters and jets strafed Pakistani positions. One would think that there would be some checking of targets before unleashing such an attack. Once they were under attack the Pakistanis responded by firing back. This no doubt was a sign for even further strafing.
     As has happened after past incidents Pakistan stops some supplies from passing through Pakistan to Afghanistan. Pakistan has also demanded that an air base be closed. In the past drones had been based there. However, I believe that drones now come mainly from bases in Afghanistan. NATO has opened alternative supply routes through central Asia. Although some time ago the Pakistani government passed a motion that drone attacks be stopped nothing has happened on that score so far.
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