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Pakistan Rejects US Findings on Deadly Border Attack

VOA News January 23, 2012

Pakistan's military has formally rejected the findings of a U.S. inquiry into last year's NATO attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the Afghan border.

The military said Monday that it does not agree with several portions of the investigation report, calling them factually incorrect.

U.S. defense officials blamed inadequate coordination by both Pakistani and U.S.-led forces for the November 26 attack. The U.S. military probe also found that U.S. forces acted in self-defense and with appropriate force after being fired upon.

Pakistan's military on Monday dismissed the U.S. findings and said that holding Pakistan partially responsible for the incident on Pakistan is "unjustified and unacceptable."

The army said that during the incident, Pakistani troops were firing at suspected militants and "at no stage" fired on or in the direction of NATO forces.

Pakistan's military called the NATO attack unprovoked and said that the fundamental cause of the incident was the failure of the coalition "to share its near-border operation with Pakistan at any level."

Pakistan responded to the NATO attack by shutting down the two main overland routes the coalition uses to send nonlethal supplies to Afghanistan.

The border attack brought U.S.-Pakistan relations to a new low point, with ties already strained over the covert U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden last year and a number of U.S. drone strikes targeting militants in Pakistan's northwest.

In the latest strike, Pakistani officials say missiles fired by a U.S. drone hit a vehicle and a house Monday in North Waziristan tribal agency's Degan village, near the Afghan border. Authorities say four militants from Turkmenistan were killed in the attack.

Drone strikes resumed earlier this month after a drop-off in such attacks following the deadly November 26 NATO airstrike.

Pakistan has condemned drone strikes as a violation of the country's sovereignty, but they are believed to be carried out with the help of Pakistani intelligence.

U.S. officials have never publicly acknowledged the missile strikes against militants in Pakistan's tribal areas, but have anonymously confirmed such attacks to various news outlets.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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