Amid an accelerating downward spiral in US-Pakistan relations, a presentation at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington on the deadly NATO attack served as a portrait of mistrust.
Pakistan is offering a view of what happened in NATO’s deadly attack on a pair of Pakistani army border outposts last month that concludes that the operation could not have been a mistake – and that the shooting by helicopter gunships that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead continued for an hour after NATO forces said it would stop.
Senior Pakistani officials made their presentation in Washington Thursday amid a downward spiral in US-Pakistan relations that began early in the year but has accelerated while the two uneasy partners trade allegations in the aftermath of the Nov. 26 attack.
On Wednesday the House of Representatives approved a freeze on $700 million in military aid to Pakistan. For its part, Pakistan has evicted the US from an airbase where drones were stationed, has closed its borders to the transfer of NATO supplies into Afghanistan – and is now proposing to charge NATO transit fees for using Pakistani supply routes if and when the borders reopen to NATO.
It was amid that heightened tension that the Pakistani Embassy in Washington summoned reporters Thursday to hear the Pakistani view of the attack on the outposts. “We want to offer our view of the incident as we see it,” said acting Ambassador Iffat Gardezi.
NATO is proceeding with its own inquiry into the incident, but Pakistan has refused to cooperate with that investigation. Ambassador Gardezi suggested that the Pakistani public would not tolerate any sign of their officials’ cooperation with NATO so soon after the deadly attack.