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.