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Pakistan makes its case in Washington: deadly NATO attack was no mistake

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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.

“This is the fourth incident [of NATO attacking Pakistani forces] in the recent past, there were joint inquiries before and nothing happened after that,” she said. “The entire population is against any cooperation at this time – they want an apology.”

President Obama has offered condolences for those killed in the attack but not an official apology.

The senior Pakistani officials who offered the presentation said the explanation of mistaken identity (NATO has said its forces thought they were firing on militants) could not be accepted for a list of reasons, ranging from the years of cooperation and the procedures put in place to prevent this kind of mistake, to the barrenness of the terrain where the simple stone outposts sat. The stark, treeless landscape meant the two outposts that were attacked stuck out and could not be mistaken for something else, the officials said.

Pakistan’s military had recently undertaken an anti-militant operation in the border area of Mohmand province where the two attacked outposts were located, but the senior officials acknowledged that parts of the Afghanistan side of the border were “infested” with what they called “terrorists.”    

“We cleansed this area of all terrorist presence,” one senior official said, “As of September [there was] no terrorist presence in Mohmand which warrants such an operation” by NATO.

The officials also claimed a “coordination of measures over the last 10 years to avoid incidents of this nature,” but the details provided in the presentation served instead to illustrate the mistrust that exists between the NATO and Pakistani sides.

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