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Pakistan cleared ISAF airstrikes that killed its own troops



While the investigation has only just begun into last weekend's ISAF airstrikes in Mohmand that resulted in the deaths of 24 Pakistani troops, the initial findings indicate that the attacks were cleared by the Pakistani military, which said none of its troops were operating in the area. The Wall Street Journal has the story:

According to the initial U.S. account from the field, the commandos requested airstrikes against the encampment, prompting the team to contact a joint border-control center to determine whether Pakistani forces were in the area, a U.S. official said.

The border-control center is manned by U.S., Afghan and Pakistani representatives who are supposed to share information and head off conflicts. But the U.S. and Afghan forces conducting the Nov. 26 commando operation hadn't notified the center in advance that they planned to strike Taliban insurgents near that part of the border, the official said.

When called, the Pakistani representatives at the center said there were no Pakistani military forces in the area identified by the commandos, clearing the way for the Americans to conduct the airstrikes, the U.S. officials said.

The report completely shatters Pakistani military claims that the incident was "unprovoked" and a "deliberate act of aggression." As the Asia Times noted the other day, the Pakistani military is uninterested in conducting an investigation into the Mohmand strike. The Pakistani response to the attack was calculated from the very beginning to cast the US and NATO as the villains, and Pakistan as the victim of aggression.

And this behavior is par for the course for Pakistan. And yet, US policymakers still believe Pakistan can be relied upon to broker a peace in Afghanistan, while Pakistan provides the sanctuary and support for the very groups that are destabilizing that country. It is stunning that at this point in time, given years and years of such duplicitous behavior, anyone can still believe that Pakistan could broker a deal in good faith to end the fighting in Afghanistan. But there we are.



READER COMMENTS: "Pakistan cleared ISAF airstrikes that killed its own troops"

Posted by Vyom at December 2, 2011 8:44 AM ET:

They are playing this game since Soviet invasion of Afghanistan but it would be too much to tell that US is playing in their hands.

Posted by BraddS at December 2, 2011 9:08 AM ET:

And yet the MSM has been selling us Pakistan's lie since the story first broke. Guess the truth is yesterday's news now...

Posted by Brian at December 2, 2011 9:43 AM ET:

Yup. Pakistan is the enemy, both the people and the government.

Posted by Scott at December 2, 2011 9:44 AM ET:

I knew it! I knew this was not just trigger-happy Americans indiscriminately bombing away.

The report also calls the Pakistani positions "temporary encampments", not "checkpoints" as the Pakistanis called them. I think there is a big difference between the two, and the implications are pretty obvious.

Posted by Nic at December 2, 2011 12:00 PM ET:

There will be a tomorrow. A day when the war in Afghanistan is over and the ISAF troops are gone. A day when the Black Sea Route supply line is adequate to supply the foreign interest's needs in Afghanistan. A day when the current supply lines transiting Pakistan will no longer have a military importance. A day when Pakistan returns to the status it had in the year 2000. That day will become Judgement Day for Pakistan. A day when its deceit, its cooperation with Al Qaeda and the Haqqani Network, its role as a generous host and protector of Osama bin Laden, its receipt of the total number of billions in aid from the United States, its responsibility for the number of ISAF troops who have suffered amputations, its responsibility for the number of ISAF troops who have been burned or blinded and its responsibility for the number of ISAF troops who have been killed will be reported in detail and judged. On that day Pakistan will begin to feel the consequences of its actions. Aid will be terminated, requests for assistance with food shortages, flood relief and earthquake relief will be denied with a clear conscience. Minor courtesies such as allowing Pakistani students to attend American universities will hopefully end. These attitudes and actions will justifiably become a part of the American Psyche. There will be a tomorrow.

Posted by mike merlo at December 2, 2011 12:01 PM ET:

Pakistani duplicitousness continues expanding the aperture for operations targeting them. A most welcome development. I wonder how long before Pakistani coziness with Iran begins becoming so blatant that can no longer ignore the one without risking overlooking 'the other.'

Posted by Sam Bronstein at December 2, 2011 12:36 PM ET:

Bill. Your tone towards Pakistan is not correct. We are going to leave Afghanistan, and when we do, Pakistan wants a stable Taliban governed country. Taliban are the only group that can bring stability, because they are the destabilizers. Plus, a Karzai regime benefits India. Also, Pakistan sort of just forgot about its guerilla fighters for Kashmir and Jammu, so you have that element, and also a lot of the military sympathize with the Islamists. Basically my point is that it's unreasonable to think that Pakistan should do anymore than it already has, and we should just end these wars and bring the troops home. Al-Qaeda has always wanted a long costly war, that exposed our moral degradation. We have done exactly that.

Posted by Mr T at December 2, 2011 1:05 PM ET:


"But the U.S. and Afghan forces conducting the Nov. 26 commando operation hadn't notified the center in advance that they planned to strike Taliban insurgents near that part of the border,"

This is part and parcel of the problem. Pakistan set it up so we have to clear operations in Pakistan beforehand. That gives them advance notice so they can alert the Taliban leaders.

I think it is a big part of the reason the leaders are able to escape justice for so long. We got Osama because we did not give advance notice. They cry because they are not able to protect their brethren, not because of territory.

If I were a Pakistani Taliban, my operational security would depend in large part on my spys in the military and government. Bribes and promises of glory in the hereafter can accomplish a lot in my protection. The fact they cry about not being told tells me it isn't just spys helping out but the entire institution. They are protecting the protection system.

Posted by Charu at December 2, 2011 1:32 PM ET:

Well the Pakistanis are now claiming that NATO sent them the wrong coordinates. The story keeps changing daily. Any wonder that they don't want an investigation? And now there are uncomfortable questions from within Pakistan asking why their helicopter gunships and fighter planes didn't respond.

Now why would Dakota Meyer not want BAE to sell advanced night vision equipment to the Pakistanis???

Posted by wallbangr at December 2, 2011 3:41 PM ET:

Well put, Bill.

Not to worry, lads, the Paks are going to get their just deserts as soon as we pull out of there. Their proxies are going to turn on them as soon as they no longer have the Americans to blame for all of their misery. Best of luck with that, ISI...

Posted by mike merlo at December 2, 2011 4:15 PM ET:

re:S Bronstein
The last thing Pakistan wants is a Taliban 'controlled' country. They never really wanted the Taliban in the 1st place, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was their 1st choice, & the definitely don't want them again.

Even now Pakistan is being vexed by the same problem they faced when confronting the Soviets. The couldn't get the Mujahideen to agree on anything back then, couldn't do it when the Soviets left, got kinda close with the Taliban but still no 'cigar.' And the Paki's still can't find the type of consensus or cooperation they'd like.

The last thing the Paki's want is a strong independent Afghanistan which also happens to include the Taliban.

Then of course there is always the flip side where the Pakistani's are purposely creating conditions unbeknownst to us that's preventing the insurgency from behaving in unified manner.

That theory as with many others, based on what happened to date, explain's it as well as most other that have been proffered.

Posted by Passer By at December 2, 2011 4:22 PM ET:

@Sam Bronstein

Actually the US will stay in Afghanistan up to at least 2024 according to the new SOFA, since Afghanistan doesn't have the capacity, air power, and money to sustain its army and police. There will be no stability in Talibanised Afghanistan simply because the North is richer and stronger than before, and Russia, India and Iran will throw their weight behind them. As former Pakistani president Musharaf said, if the US leaves too soon, there will be a civil war and a proxy battle between regional powers an Afganistan.

http://tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/4360-musharraf-warns-against-us-withdrawal-from-afghanistan

Posted by Bing at December 2, 2011 6:10 PM ET:

This seems to be backpedaling from ISAF to me. ISAF does NOT ask for permission before it carries out strikes, plus other reports have already pointed out that the initial AO given to the Paks was incorrect.

Plus, doesn't explain why the attacks continued for 2 hours. Sorry, the contradictory statements from ISAF just don't make sense.

Posted by James at December 3, 2011 12:22 AM ET:

What good can be said about Kayani and his 'scarecrow' army?

It must be a pitiful job (if you can call it that) being a Pakistani soldier.

Shall we feel sorry for them and offer them our pity?

Hopefully, our intellegence people are busy cultivating this potentially rich source of potential double agents.

Someone once said (in the wake of the 9/11 attacks) that: "They that harbor terrorists must share in their fate." It's high time (and too long overdue) for those words to ring true and have meaning.

Posted by Nauman Ali at December 3, 2011 1:05 AM ET:

This is not the first time that NATO forces attacked Pakistan army check post and killed soldiers and this is agression.Pakistan is sacrificing most as an ally in war on terror and its the right of Pakistan to work for the stable and friendly Afghanistan whether it includes Taliban or not.US goverment critisied Pakistan but themself secretly talking with taliban offering them a bigger role in future Afghan goverment in return of safe exit of US-NATO soldiers from Afghanistan.

Posted by Pogo at December 3, 2011 1:26 AM ET:

Evidence of incompetence like this simply can not, will not, be acknowledged or accepted by senior Pakistan Army leaders, regardless of the facts. Remember Abbottabad? That incident played extremely badly for the PAK Army. With this debacle the Army again risks losing its grip on power. To do so could have horrendous implications for the survival of Pakistan. Once the masses see the PAK Army for what it is, they may revolt as the world has seen in Eqypt and Libya.

Posted by mike merlo at December 3, 2011 7:08 PM ET:

re:N Ali
please refer to your 'autographed poster' of bin-Laden or your claytmation model of 9 11 before commenting next time.

Posted by gitmo-joe at December 3, 2011 11:23 PM ET:

I have always advocated understanding for Pakistan due to the the complex and contradictory forces operating there. But this is so over the top I think its time call it quits with these guys. Its not about hating Pakistanis or calling them liars. Its about facing the fact that you can't expect to have productive agreements with a country so rife with breath-taking incompetence and so many disparate objectives. If you go into a sewer, no matter what you do in there, you are going to come out smelling like excrement.

Posted by madashell59 at December 7, 2011 4:21 PM ET:

Nauman: What do you mean "...safe exit of US-NATO soldiers from Afghanistan." So the US-NATO is trying to negotiate for safe passage? That is a clear message of surrender and I do not think the US-NATO is giving up anytime soon. They maybe requested to leave by their Commander in Chief but that is in no way a surrender just a political move. And if this does take place I am sure that it will be safe whether the Taliban want it to be or not.