Islamabad: Pakistani soldiers at a border checkpost that was struck by NATO initially thought that the Taliban were attacking them and a soldier said at one point they even thought "NATO helicopters were being flown by the Taliban".
As many as 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed and 15 were injured after NATO helicopters from Afghanistan attacked a border checkpost in Mohmand tribal region near the Afghan border early Saturday, leading to Islamabad lodging a strong protest with Washington.
Islamabad has said that it is permanently stopping -- not merely suspending -- the passage of NATO supplies to Afghanistan through Pakistan.
Mushtaq Ahmed, a 23-year-old soldier who sustained severe injuries, said they were under the impression that the attackers were Taliban.
He said none of them expected a NATO strike.
"The unprovoked attack surprised us and at one point we thought that the NATO helicopters were being flown by Taliban," the daily Dawn quoted him as saying.
Another soldier, Javidullah, said that NATO "used everything they had - mortars, rockets and bombs. The shelling was indiscriminate".
The entire area was under fire, he recalled.