WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2010 — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff expressed his condolences for the deaths and injuries of Pakistani soldiers involved in a Sept. 30 border incident in a letter this week to Pakistan’s chief of army staff.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen consults regularly with Gen. Ashhaq Parvez Kayani, and has visited Pakistan 20 times since becoming the top U.S. military officer in October 2007.
“I wanted to send my most sincere condolences for the regrettable loss of your soldiers killed and wounded on 30 September near your border with Afghanistan,” Mullen wrote in the letter to Kayani. “The death of our soldiers in combat is always tragic, but under these circumstances, it is even more difficult to accept.
“Please know that the families of the soldiers lost in this tragic incident are in our constant thoughts and prayers,” he continued. “I think you already know, but I want to reinforce, that we take this incident very seriously and our most senior commanders in theater will review the investigation thoroughly with an eye toward avoiding recurrence of a tragedy like this.
“As always,” Mullen concluded, “thanks for your leadership of your Army, but especially in difficult times and circumstances such as this.”
A joint report released yesterday by International Security Assistance Force and Pakistani military officials said two coalition helicopters passed into Pakistani airspace several times Sept. 30 and 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, the report said. Following the engagement, it was discovered that members of the Pakistan Frontier Scouts had been killed or wounded.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)