US formally apologizes for deaths of Pakistani soldiers
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Islamabad, Oct 7, IRNA -- United States Wednesday tendered formal apology to Pakistan over killing of 3 Pak soldiers in airstrike by NATO helicopters in a tribal region, said US embassy here.
Pakistan army says that two NATO helicopters had shelled a border outpost in Kurram tribal region and killed three soldiers and injured three others last week.
Pakistan, in an apparent retaliation, had immediately blocked all NATO supply trucks from crossing the border checkpoint to Afghanistan.
The blockade continued on 7th day on Wednesday and the Foreign Ministry says the NATO supplies had been blocked due to security concerns.
“US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson today extended an apology to Pakistan on behalf of the American people for the terrible accident on September 30th, which resulted in the deaths of two Pakistani Frontier Scouts and the injury of four others,” the US embassy said.
Ambassador Patterson said that a joint investigation of the incident had established that the US helicopters had mistaken the Pakistani Frontier Scouts for insurgents they had been pursuing, an embassy statement said.
“We extend our deepest apology to Pakistan and the families of the Frontier Scouts who were killed and injured” said the Ambassador.
“Pakistan’s brave security forces are our allies in a war that threatens both Pakistan and the US.”
The Ambassador noted that the US will coordinate with the government of Pakistan to prevent such tragic accidents from taking place in the future.
The NATO Secretary General in meeting with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Brussels this week also expressed regret over the incident.
A NATO spokesman in Afghanistan had earlier defended the strike into Pakistani territory arguing that the militants had fired at an Afghan post from Pakistan side.
The militants stepped up attacks on NATO supplies trucks in Pakistan and there had been three major attacks since the NATO air raids.
On Wednesday, unidentified gunmen in Pakistan's southwest Wednesday attacked tankers, carrying oil for NATO forces in neighbouring Afghanistan, third major attack on NATO supplies vehicles in two weeks, police and witnesses said.
The NATO oil tankers came under attack in the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, early morning, Deputy Inspector General Police Hamid Shakil, said.
Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30006942
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