News / Asia

Pakistan Halts NATO Supply Route in Anger Over Helicopter Attack

Pakistani security personnel stop truck carrying supplies for NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan at Takhtabeg check post in Pakistani tribal area of Khyber, Pakistan, on their way to Torkham border post on Saturday, November 26, 2011.
Pakistani security personnel stop truck carrying supplies for NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan at Takhtabeg check post in Pakistani tribal area of Khyber, Pakistan, on their way to Torkham border post on Saturday, November 26, 2011.
Kurt Achin

The deeply strained relationship between Pakistan and the United States appears to have taken yet another turn for the worse, in the aftermath of what Pakistan describes as an unprovoked pre-dawn attack on its forces by NATO aircraft across the Afghan border.  At least 26 Pakistani military personnel, including two officers, were killed, and 14 others were wounded. Islamabad is strongly protesting the incident.

Pakistan has blocked NATO's supply routes that pass through its territory to Afghanistan, following what officials here describe as an aerial attack on its soldiers in the early hours of Saturday morning local time.

The Pakistani military says NATO helicopters and fighter jets "carried out unprovoked firing" on two of its posts in the Mohmand tribal district bordering Afghanistan.  A military statement calls for "strong and urgent action" against thoseresponsible "for this aggression."

Washington's ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad to explain the incident.  Munter says Washington regrets the loss of life among "any Pakistani servicemen," and promised to work closely with Pakistan to find out what happened.

Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani has strongly condemned the attack, and convened an emergency meeting of senior leaders to discuss next steps.  

NATO says General John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, is personally paying the "highest attention" to the matter.  Brigadier General Carsten Jacobsen is a spokesman for the force.

"He's committed to thoroughly investigate and determine the  facts.  He expresses his sincere and heartfelt personal  condolences to the families and loved ones of any member of the  Pakistan security forces  who may have been killed or injured."

The NATO force says it remains committed to improving security relations with Pakistan, including coordinating cooperation along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

That border is extremely mountainous, winding, and porous to foot  traffic back and forth - posing a constant challenge for military planners on both sides.  The Taliban and other militants take advantage of the nearly 2,400-kilometer-long border to carry out attacks on U.S. and NATO forces.

A similar incident happened about a year ago when international security forces accidentally killed two Pakistani soldiers.  Then, too, Pakistan temporarily choked off the route on which NATO forces have depended for supplies since they began military operations against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

The timing of this incident may further sour the attitude of Pakistanis who already feel irritated over what they perceive as infractions against their sovereignty.  In May, U.S. Special Forces.swept into the Pakistani garrison town of Abbotabad, not far from the capital, to kill al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Years of unmanned U.S. drone airstrikes against Pakistan-based targets have killed both militants and civilians.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs