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US admits to air strike mistakes

The US military is going to admit in a report to be given on Friday it made significant mistakes attacking a border post that killed Pakistani 24 soldiers last November.

world Updated: Dec 23, 2011 01:28 IST
Yashwant Raj

Pakistan was right about this from day one.

Now, the US military is going to admit in a report to be given on Friday it made significant mistakes attacking a border post that killed Pakistani 24 soldiers last November.

The US and Afghan forces incorrectly concluded there were no Pakistani forces in the area, and made it impossible for Pakistan to stop the firefight by providing it inaccurate coordinates. The American forces were wrong, the investigators have concluded, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The incident had plunged relations between the US and Pakistan to a new low. Islamabad retaliated by blocking NATO supply routes and evicting US drone team from Shamsi airbase.

The US rolled out a string of explanations and high-level visits.

The same Journal report, however, gives another version of this mistake. The US service personnel actually wanted to give the Pakistani representative more specific coordinates.

But he apparently used “an inaccurate electronic overlay” and gave coordinates that showed the firefight nine miles from the post. That’s how Pakistan cleared it.

The one issue left unanswered by the report is why did the American and Afghan forces come under fire? The investigators were refused access to Pakistani officers and records.