Clark to Lead Pakistan Border Investigation

WASHINGTON, Nov. 28, 2011 — The com­man­der of U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand has appoint­ed an inves­ti­gat­ing offi­cer to con­duct an inquiry into the Nov. 26 deaths of Pak­istani sol­diers dur­ing an engage­ment near Pakistan’s bor­der with Afghanistan.

Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mat­tis has appoint­ed Air Force Brig. Gen. Stephen A. Clark from the Air Force Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Com­mand head­quar­ters at Hurl­burt Field, Fla., as the inves­ti­gat­ing offi­cer.

Mat­tis direct­ed Clark to pro­vide an ini­tial report on the inci­dent by Dec. 23.

“This is a Cent­com-led inves­ti­ga­tion with full NATO coop­er­a­tion and you will include NATO rep­re­sen­ta­tion in your inves­ti­ga­tion team,” Mat­tis said in an appoint­ment let­ter sent to Clark today.

NATO’s Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force and the Afghanistan and Pak­istan gov­ern­ments also will name rep­re­sen­ta­tives to the team, a Cent­com news release says.

Mat­tis advised Clark to ensure open­ness and can­dor with the team mem­bers, respond to their ques­tions and coor­di­nate with them to receive evi­dence and inter­view wit­ness­es.

“Their par­tic­i­pa­tion will facil­i­tate the inves­tiga­tive process to deter­mine what hap­pened and how we pre­clude it from hap­pen­ing again,” he added.

The inves­ti­ga­tion team is to focus on the facts of the inci­dent and any mat­ters that add under­stand­ing to the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the deaths and injuries of Pak­istan forces.

Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, ISAF com­man­der and com­man­der of U.S. Forces Afghanistan, has des­ig­nat­ed a judge advo­cate to serve as Clark’s legal advi­sor for the inves­ti­ga­tion, Mat­tis said in his appoint­ment let­ter.

Clark also may request oth­er experts and admin­is­tra­tive sup­port.

Mat­tis said he expects Clark and his team to deter­mine the facts and cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the inci­dent that took place near the Salala check­point in Afghanistan’s Kunar province near the Pak­istan bor­der.

Clark also is to deter­mine which U.S., ISAF, Afghan and Pak­istan units were involved; which units did or did not cross the bor­der and under what con­di­tions and author­i­ties; what coor­di­na­tion was con­duct­ed, what bat­tle dam­age occurred and the cause of deaths and injuries; and rec­om­men­da­tions for improv­ing near-bor­der oper­a­tions.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)