Pakistan border incident investigation concluded

MONS, Bel­gium — A fact-find­ing inves­ti­ga­tion into the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the friend­ly forces engage­ment between coali­tion and Pak­istan mil­i­tary forces, on 25–26 Novem­ber 2011 has been com­plet­ed. The NATO chain of com­mand extends their sin­cer­est, heart­felt con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of those Pak­istani Secu­ri­ty Force mem­bers who were killed or injured in this incident. 

The com­bined inter­na­tion­al and Afghan force was ini­tial­ly fired upon by uniden­ti­fied forces, then believed not to be Pak­istani mil­i­tary, and legit­i­mate­ly respond­ed in self-defence. The inves­ti­ga­tion has ascer­tained that a series of mis­takes were made on both sides in fail­ing to prop­er­ly co-ordi­nate their loca­tions and actions, both before the oper­a­tion and dur­ing the result­ing engagement. 

The com­bined force did not know­ing­ly fire at the Pak­istani forces. The inves­ti­ga­tion has sub­stan­ti­at­ed that close air sup­port was employed in self-defence in response to intense, heavy machine gun and mor­tar fire ini­ti­at­ed by what turned out to be Pak­istan forces near the bor­der in the vicin­i­ty of Salala. 

A thor­ough review of the oper­a­tional plan and com­mu­ni­ca­tions dur­ing the inci­dent sub­stan­ti­ate the con­clu­sion that the Pak­istani forces were not know­ing­ly tar­get­ed and the action of our forces was legit­i­mate with­in the Laws of Armed Con­flict and with­in their Rules of Engagement. 

Imme­di­ate steps have been tak­en to reduce the risk of sim­i­lar inci­dents in the future. ISAF is also review­ing the man­ning, train­ing, and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the Bor­der Coor­di­na­tion Cen­tres to assist in this effort. 

We con­tin­u­ous­ly work to improve liai­son with the Pak­istani forces and we are deter­mined to work hard­er to ensure these inci­dents do not occur. 

Allied Com­mand Oper­a­tions

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