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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