Pakistan says ISAF attack in Mohmand may have been ‘deliberate’

While ISAF is saying that last weekend’s airstrike in Mohmand that killed more than 20 Pakistani soldiers was in response to cross-border attacks from Pakistani territory, the spokesman for the Pakistani military claimed the attack was “unprovoked” and may have been “deliberate.” From McClatchy:

ISAF officers say the strike on Pakistani border positions took place when a joint force of Afghan and Isaf special forces carrying out a counterinsurgency operation in southern Kunar province came under fire and called in “close air support” from Nato aircraft. The air strikes hit two Pakistani border posts in the Mohmand tribal area on Saturday.

Pakistan’s military refused to accept that its checkposts had been hit by accident, insisting that Isaf knew the location of the posts, on a mountaintop at Salala, next to the Afghan border.

Major General Athar Abbas, chief spokesman for the Pakistan military, told the Guardian on Sunday that he did not believe Isaf or Afghan forces had received fire from the Pakistani side. “I cannot rule out the possibility that this was a deliberate attack by ISAF,” said Abbas. “If ISAF was receiving fire, then they must tell us what their losses were.”

Pakistani officials said the posts hit are 300 metres into Pakistani territory, but ISAF officers say the border in that area is disputed.

Abbas said, however, that the firing lasted for over an hour, while ISAF made “no attempt” to contact the Pakistani side using an established border co-ordination system to report that they had come under fire. He said that the map references of the posts were previously passed to ISAF.

“This was a totally unprovoked attack. There are no safe havens or hideouts left there [for militants] in Mohmand,” he said.

“This was a visible, well-made post, on top of ridges, made of concrete. Militants don’t operate from mountaintops, from concrete structures.”

To think that ISAF/the US military would launch an “unprovoked” and “deliberate” attack on the Pakistani military inside Pakistan requires the complete suspension of disbelief. For some perspective, read Matt Dupee’s article yesterday at LWJ detailing numerous cross-border incidents that have been launched from Pakistan. To accept the Pakistani version of the incident, you’d have to be willing to believe that ISAF is seeking to destroy the already-poor relationship with Pakistan, and wants its supply lines through Pakistan shut down. Also, you’d have to believe the US wants Pakistan to dismantle the intelligence infrastructure within Pakistan that is used to hunt al Qaeda with unmanned drones.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Shamim Kazi says:

    There should be no doubt that the attack on Pakistani army post was well thought of and delibrate. The operation continued for over 3 hours. ISAF and Pak Army have a hot line.There are reports that there was an immediate contact between them but the attack did not halt. The attacked army post had been recognized in the maps exchanged between ISAF and Pak army.
    In last 3 years 72 army have been killed and 250
    disabled/injured. It appears now Pakistan has determined that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

  • Abbasi says:

    The history of disbelieve and mistrust between pak and US alongside military miscoordinations with ISAF have reached a level where Pakistani side would have a serious thinking on foreign relations. Pak may go for new alliances which may not be inline with US interest in the region. Wait and see.

  • Neonmeat says:

    I know these Pakistanis are often blinded by their hatred and jealousy of ISAF but what would be the point of NATO deliberately killing these Frontier Soldiers?
    If we look at the result; ISAF convoys blocked, deterioration in relations. We can see that ISAF have not benefited from this at all, nor have the ANA. The ones who benefit are the Pakistani Army and Policitians as it gives them a chance to be seen to be standing up to NATO and lends them credibility in the eyes of their America hating populus.

  • Shamim Kazi says:

    Reference to the comments above by Neonmeat:
    I think the writter is not following the statments coming from US and ISAF/American generals, which indirectly indicate that the attack was delibrete.
    Pak army or Pkistan has no reason to be jealous with ISAF or have hatred , it is the rverse of it.
    But this time (I hope) the character less ruler of
    Pakistan have been forced to think that Pakistani
    Blood is as thicker as any one else.
    This tragic insident , may open a window of opportunity for the ISAF / NATO to understand
    that Pakistanis are a proud nation and they may
    find a respectable structure of relationship


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