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Pak leaders need to lower their rhetoric: US media

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 13:48

Washington: Taking an exception to the
strong statements coming from Islamabad in the aftermath of the NATO air strike that killed 24 soldiers, a leading US daily Tuesday warned top Pakistani leaders to lower their rhetoric before things get out of control.

"Before things get out of control, Pakistan`s leaders
need to lower their rhetoric and make clear that it is in
their country`s interest to work with the Americans to find
out what happened and ensure it will not happen again," The
New York Times said in a lead editorial.

"Pakistan`s leaders, as ever, are playing a very
dangerous game," it said, adding on Monday its Prime Minister
Yousaf Raza Gilani vowed in an interview on CNN, that
"business as usual will not be there."

There are many questions that need to be answered, the daily said.

"Who first fired on the American-Afghan force? Pakistan’s
army is far too cozy with the Taliban. Were fighters
sheltering near the Pakistani outposts? What about Pakistan’s
claim that the NATO strikes continued for two hours even after
Pakistan alerted allied officials? What needs to be done
differently going forward?" it asked.

Meanwhile, according to The Washington Post Afghan
commanders who participated in the operation said that their
unit was attacked before air strike was called on Pakistan.

"Both sides said they believed they were attacking
insurgents along the border. A senior Pakistani defense
official acknowledged that Pakistani troops fired first,
sending a flare, followed by mortar and machine-gun fire,
toward what he said was `suspicious activity` in the brush-
covered area below their high-altitude outpost barely 500 yards from the border," the daily said.

According to Afghan security officials, their commandos
were engaged with US Special Operations troops in a nighttime
raid against suspected Taliban insurgents when they came under
cross-border fire and called in an airstrike, it said.

"Despite extensive coordination mechanisms set up to
prevent such encounters, the US military failed to respond to
Pakistani alerts that its troops were being bombed, said the
Pakistani defense official, who spoke on the condition of
anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue
on the record," the daily said.

"We told them, hold your horses, these are ours," a
Pakistani official was quoted as saying.

While repeated urgent appeals went up the coalition chain
of command, he said, the air strike continued for an hour and
a half against two Pakistani border positions and a contingent
of troops, The Post reported.


First Published: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 13:48
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