Mullen Expresses Condolences to Pakistan Army Chief

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)

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