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US apologises to Pakistan over mistaken airstrike

world Updated: Oct 07, 2010 10:18 IST

IANS
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The US apologised on Wednesday to Pakistan over a cross-border helicopter raid last month that mistakenly targeted and killed two Pakistani soldiers.

Anne Patterson, US ambassador to Pakistan, formally issued an apology to the Pakistani government, as did General David Petraeus, the head of international forces in Afghanistan, the Washington Post reported.

Their statements said that an investigation into the Sep 30 attack concluded that poor coordination resulted in the deaths and that the pilots believed the soldiers were Taliban militants.

"We extend our deepest apology to Pakistan and the families of the Frontier Scouts who were killed and injured," Patterson said, according to the Post. "Pakistan's brave security forces are our allies in a war that threatens both Pakistan and the US."

The attack inflamed already tense relations between the two allies in the war on terrorism, and prompted the Pakistani government to close a NATO supply route into Afghanistan. Pakistan has already protested US airstrikes by unmanned drones along the border region.

The attack was followed by retaliatory strikes by the Taliban on NATO convoys in the country, including one Wednesday that left one person killed near the south-western Pakistani town of Quetta, authorities said.