Washington: The US has named a top air force
General to head the investigations into the NATO air strike on Pakistani border posts that left 24 soldiers dead and has invited Pakistan and Afghanistan to join the probe.
Brigadier General Stephen Clark from US Central Command
headquarters in Florida has been named to probe the last
weekend's incident which has triggered a fury in Pakistan.
Announcing the appointment of the high-level probe, US
Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander General James Mattis said
the Governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan would be invited
to participate into the investigation.
The investigation team has also been directed to include
input and participation from NATO-led International Assistance
Security Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
US Central Command, which oversees US forces in the
Middle East and Afghanistan, said in a statement that the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan had been asked to join the probe to determine "what happened and preclude it from happening again."
Clark, posted at Headquarters Air Force Special
Operations Command at Hurlburt Field in Florida, has been
asked to provide an initial report by December 23.
The NATO-led ISAF sent an initial assessment team over
the weekend to the border to look into the incident.
Pakistan has charged that the air strike was unprovoked,
while Afghan and Western officials say that Pakistani forces
opened fire first.
"The investigation team will focus their efforts on the
facts of the incident and any matters that facilitate a better
understanding of the circumstances surrounding the deaths and
injuries of the Pakistan forces," the statement said.
Earlier in the day, Pentagon Press Secretary George
Little said the Department of Defence has been working very
hard for some time to address areas of disagreement with the
"We understand there are deep concerns over the incident
this weekend and we'll continue to try to engage closely with
our Pakistani counterparts," Little told reporters during an
off camera news briefing earlier in the day.
First Published: Tuesday, November 29, 2011, 13:31