US warns Pak on cross-border attacks into Afghanistan

Amidst mounting NATO air strikes on Pakistani soil in apparent hot pursuit of militants, the US has send a stern message to Islamabad to stop cross border attacks into Afghanistan or face the consequences.

Washington: Amidst mounting NATO air
strikes on Pakistani soil in apparent hot pursuit of
militants, the US has send a stern message to Islamabad to
stop cross border attacks into Afghanistan or face the
consequences.

The message was conveyed to visiting Pakistan Foreign
Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi from key Senate and Congress
leaders including John Kerry, Carl Levin and Congressman
Howard Berman.

While, Kerry is the Chairman of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, Levin heads the Armed Services Committee,
and Berman chairs the House Foreign Relations Committee.

The Pakistani delegation that participated in the
talks came back with the feeling that the Americans were
becoming "more and more assertive and less apologetic" on this
issue, the Dawn newspaper reported from Washington.

The Americans argued that the Haqqani network and
other insurgents were using their bases in Fata to attack US
and Nato forces. They urged the Pakistanis to "make the
strategic decisions they have to make to help resolve the
Afghan conflict" or the Americans would be forced to use their
military might to subdue the militants.

A Pentagon spokesman Col Dave Lapan strongly defended
the NATO helicopters killing three Pakistani soldiers in the
Kurram tribal agency in a raid while pursuing fighters of the
Haqqani network.

In a statement, the spokesman said, that Pakistani
troops had fired their rifles, "as a warning", at US
helicopters taking part in the raid.

"You fire at a helicopter in a combat zone, they
usually take that as hostile act and return fire," the
Pentagon official said.

The Pentagon is now investigating whether the raid
that left three Pakistani soldiers dead was the result of a
breakdown in communication among the two countries.

The US media quoted Pentagon officials as saying that
Pakistan`s move to block the Khyber Pass supply line in the
wake of the deaths of its troops would have little impact on
US military operations in Afghanistan.

While the busy border crossing at Torkham is now
closed, other key transit points remain open "at last report",
according to Lapan, who stressed that the US military had
alternate means of bringing in fuel, ammunition and
food for its soldiers.

But long-term impact of the closure on US supply lines
and whether it is temporary is unclear, he added. "That
remains to be seen."

PTI

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