News / Asia

US, Pakistan Discuss Border Incident 'Communications Breakdown'

A Pakistani officer in Peshawar arranges recovered equipment that has been stolen in recent months from NATO forces fighting in neighboring Afghanistan, 27 Sep 2010
A Pakistani officer in Peshawar arranges recovered equipment that has been stolen in recent months from NATO forces fighting in neighboring Afghanistan, 27 Sep 2010

The Pentagon says U.S. and Pakistani military officials are discussing two incidents last week in which American helicopters crossed from Afghanistan into Pakistan to fire at militants - incursions Pakistani officials have strongly protested.

A spokesman, Colonel David Lapan, said that in rare instances when U.S. forces feel they must cross into Pakistan to protect themselves from insurgent attacks, they normally contact Pakistani authorities before or during the incident.  He acknowledges, though, that did not happen in the incidents last Friday and Saturday.

"I think I can say that clearly that in these instances things did not occur the way that they are supposed to," said Colonel Lapan.  "They attempted to contact the Pakistanis at the time of the incident, and were unable to, and then ended up contacting them after the incident and letting them know.  And so one of the things they are looking into is, 'How did the communications break down?'"

Colonel Lapan could not say why it was not possible to reach Pakistani officials as the incidents were unfolding.  He declined to discuss whether there is an agreement for "hot pursuit" of militants fleeing across the border, which Pakistan says there is not.

But the Pentagon spokesman said the U.S. forces were operating within their "rules of engagement" because they acted in self defense, responding to firing from militants inside Pakistan, who were attacking a NATO outpost and who also fired at the helicopters.

"I do not know that I would call it a disagreement," said Lapan.  "But there are certainly discussions underway between our forces and the Pakistanis about this particular incident.  Again, what were the communications breakdowns?  What happened?  What was supposed to happen?"

Colonel Lapan said it is not unusual for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan to fire at militants across the border in Pakistan.  And, although officials will not confirm it, the Central Intelligence Agency reportedly conducts extensive attacks on militants based in Pakistani border areas using unmanned aircraft.  

The New York Times reported Tuesday that such attacks have increased sharply this month.  Officials say, however, it is rare for U.S. forces to actually cross the border themselves.  In this case, Lapan said it was only helicopters that crossed over briefly, and no American or other foreign ground troops were involved.

But Pakistan said the incidents infringe on its sovereignty and violate the U.N. authorization for the foreign forces in Afghanistan.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs