UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


US army chief vows to avoid attacks on Pakistani forces

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Oct 8, IRNA -- The US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen has assured Pakistan army chief that foreign forces in Afghanistan will avoid any attack on troops in Pakistani territory.

American helicopters shelled a Pakistan outpost in Kurram agency on September 30 and killed three Pakistani soldiers.

Pakistan, in an apparent retaliation, had immediately blocked all NATO supply trucks from crossing the border checkpoint to Afghanistan.

The blockade continued on the 8th day on Thursday and the Foreign Ministry said that there is no date for reopening of the NATO supply route.

Also on Wednesday the United States tendered formal apology to Pakistan over the killing of three soldiers.

“US Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed his condolences for the deaths and injuries of Pakistani soldiers involved in the September 30 border incident in a letter this week to Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff,” the US embassy said.

“Adm. Mullen consults regularly with Gen. Kayani and has visited Pakistan 20 times since becoming the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in October 2007,” it said.

“I wanted to send my most sincere condolences for the regrettable loss of your soldiers killed and wounded on 30 September near your border with Afghanistan,” he said.

Adm. Mullen added that the death of the soldiers in combat is always tragic, but under these circumstances, it is even more difficult to accept.

“I think you already know, but I want to reinforce, that we take this incident very seriously and our most senior commanders in theater will review the investigation thoroughly with an eye toward avoiding recurrence of a tragedy like this”.

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 US embassy statement said.

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 with the argument 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 four major attacks since the NATO air raids.

On Wednesday, unidentified gunmen carried out two attacks on NATO supplies vehicles in Pakistan's southwestern city of Quetta and northwestern city of Nowshehra, burning some 70 vehicles.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30008342

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list