NATO troops ordered not to approach Af-Pak zone

An order in this regard was issued by the Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the November 26 air strike.

Last Updated: Dec 03, 2011, 21:23 PM IST

Washington: US led NATO troops in Afghanistan
have been ordered not to approach the buffer zone on the
Af-Pak border in order to avoid recurrence of last week`s air
strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

An order in this regard has been issued by Gen John
Allen, the Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan in
the aftermath of the November 26 air strike, pending the
detailed investigation into the incident announced by US
Central Command (CENTCOM), Ivo Daalder, US Permanent
Representative to NATO, said on Friday.

The real facts of the incident, he said, would be known
only after the investigation is over.

"The most important thing we have already learnt is that
Gen Allen has ordered the troops not to approach the created
buffer zone at the border in order to reduce the chances that
something like this would happen in the future," Daalder said
in a breakfast meeting with the Defence Writers Group here.

Giving his brief of the incident that has plunged the
US-Pak relationship to an all-time low, the US Ambassador said
the most basic fact is that there was a strike that killed 24
Pakistani border guards.

"What we don`t know the sequence of events that led to
that and we have conflicting stories. Our side of the story is
still being investigated in great detail. General Allen took
the responsibility immediately not only to investigate the
incident but also to bring in US, Afghan, NATO and asked
Pakistan to participate in the investigation," he said.

The Pentagon on Friday said that Pakistan has declined to
participate in the investigation.

"I don`t know the sequence of events. There may be people
who know, but so far they haven`t come to any conclusions and
I think the best thing to do is to let the fact speaks for
itself.

"However these facts would come out, we would learn about
the incident," Daalder said, adding that one of the lessons
learnt has already been implemented by NATO in the order that
has been issued by Gen Allen with regard to not to approach
the created buffer zone on the border.

"But we would have to look at exactly what happened, and
what lessons we learn from it about communications need... and
that would take some time," the American diplomat said
conceding that the relationship between the two nations have
reached an all-time low.

"It is clear that relationship with Pakistan has not
improved. The relationship has been on the US level difficult
for some time, we had the arrest of (CIA contractor) Raymond
Davis (in Lahore), we had the Osama bin Laden raid (in
Abbottabad) and others and finally this incident just
escalates a set of differences that are real," he said.

The US is trying to work together with NATO as well as
other countries, understanding that this is a major problem
for it, Daalder said.

"We need to find ways to continue cooperative effort with
Pakistan. We have no choice but to cooperate with Pakistan
given that the terrorists are a threat to all three of our
countries (US, Pakistan and Afghanistan).

"As such an effective cooperation would remain essential
which is why, we talked at the highest level ... to try to
find ways to get cooperation," he said.

PTI

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