As a sovereign nation Pakistan has the right to self-defense, so does the US, the Pentagon has asserted amid reports from Islamabad that Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani had issued direction that his commanders on the Af-Pak border can return fire without permission.
Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt John Kirby told reporters that the last week's Nato bombing that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the Afghanistan border has had a chilling effect on the relationship between the two countries.
"I think it's safe to say that the incident has had a chilling effect on our relationship with the Pakistani military, no question about that. Both sides deem it to be as serious as it was," Kirby told reporters at a Pentagon briefing.
"I've seen the comments attributed to General Kayani. I'm certainly not going to speak for him or for the government of Pakistan. But every sovereign nation has the right of self-defense and the right to order their troops to defend themselves. That's what my understanding is what he did: He reiterated their right of self-defense. We certainly respect that right of his. We have it as well," Kirby said.