Local Reports Claim Attack Took Out 11 Pakistani Military
Defense Department officials called
a US air strike Tuesday in Pakistan near the Afghanistan border
"legitimate" and "self-defense," and said they are investigating
the attack with Pakistani officials.
"Every indication we have at this point is that the actions that
were taken by US forces were legitimate, in that they were in
self-defense after US forces operating on the border of Pakistan in
Afghanistan territory came under attack from hostile forces,"
Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said in a news conference
"In self-defense, they called in an air strike, which took out
those forces that were attacking them," he added.
News articles quoted Pakistani officials as saying the US air
strike killed 11 members of Pakistan's military. However, Morrell
did not confirm that members of Pakistan's military died in the air
"This is a complex attack involving an air strike and artillery
and a number of forces in an area of the world and along a border
that has traditionally been a problem and is often the cause of
some confusion as to who the forces are that are involved," he
Based upon initial reports of the attack, the State Department
expressed regret over any Pakistani military killed in the
"This is a regrettable incident. We're sad to see the loss of
life among the Pakistani military, who are partners in fighting
terror," Gonzalo Gallegos, deputy State Department spokesman, said
in a news conference Wednesday. "This is a reminder that better
cross-border communications between forces is vital."
Morrell said US and Pakistani officials are investigating the
incident. "We are aware of some of the concerns that have been
expressed by the Pakistani army and other elements of the Pakistan
government," he said. "And I can tell you that we are working with
the Pakistani government to try to get to the bottom of this
incident so that they have a better understanding of it, [and] so
that we have a better understanding of it."
US military officials said three coalition aircraft launched the
counter strike into Pakistan, where enemy fighters fled after
attacking coalition ground forces in Afghanistan's Konar
"We were running company- and battalion-sized operations in that
general area when our guys came under contact from enemy forces on
the Afghan side of the border, and in self-defense, we responded,"
a senior military official in Afghanistan, speaking on background,
"There's a lot of infiltration that goes across the border
either side," the senior official added. "So we run operations on
our side of the border in combination with the Pakistanis on the