ISAF Releases Review of Pakistan Border Shooting

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2010 — An assess­ment released today of last week’s Pak­istan bor­der shoot­ing in which two of the country’s forces were killed and four were wound­ed con­clud­ed that coali­tion heli­copters like­ly fired on the troops after mis­tak­ing their warn­ing fire for hos­tile fire.

“We believe the Pak­istani bor­der guard was sim­ply fir­ing warn­ing shots after hear­ing the near­by engage­ment and hear­ing the heli­copters fly­ing near­by,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Tim Zadalis, Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand direc­tor of air plans and the assess­ment team leader, said in a release today. “This trag­ic event could have been avoid­ed with bet­ter coali­tion force coor­di­na­tion with the Pak­istan military.” 

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, ISAF com­man­der, issued his con­do­lences along with the report. 

ISAF offers its deep­est sym­pa­thy and con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of those killed and wound­ed, to the Pak­istan mil­i­tary, and the peo­ple of Pak­istan,” Petraeus said. “We deeply regret this trag­ic loss of life and will con­tin­ue to work with the Pak­istan mil­i­tary and gov­ern­ment to ensure this does­n’t hap­pen again.” 

The joint ISAF and Pak­istan mil­i­tary report said two coali­tion heli­copters passed into Pak­istani air­space sev­er­al times Sept. 30. The heli­copters lat­er fired on a build­ing iden­ti­fied as a Pak­istani bor­der out­post, in response to shots fired from the post. The assess­ment team con­sid­ered it most like­ly that the Pak­istani troops had fired in an attempt to warn the heli­copters of their pres­ence, accord­ing to the release. Fol­low­ing the engage­ment, it was dis­cov­ered that the dead and wound­ed were mem­bers of the Pak­istan Fron­tier Scouts. 

Fol­low­ing the inci­dent, Pak­istan shut down the NATO sup­ply route run­ning through the north­west­ern Pak­istan trib­al region of Kur­ram, cit­ing secu­ri­ty reasons. 

Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary Geoff Mor­rell yes­ter­day called the shoot­ing a “regret­table inci­dent,” and said Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates “deeply regrets the inci­dent.” But, he said, the rela­tion­ship between the U.S. mil­i­tary and the Pak­istani mil­i­tary remains strong and has not been derailed by the incident. 

“Through­out this peri­od of ten­sion, if you will … [mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary] rela­tions have pro­ceed­ed,” Mor­rell said. “There was no dis­en­gage­ment. There were no reprisals in that sense. We have con­tin­ued to work close­ly with the Pak­istani mil­i­tary through­out the after­math of this incident.” 

Two rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Pak­istani mil­i­tary were assigned to the inves­ti­ga­tion team. 

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

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