Coalition retracts border strike claim

Published August 29, 2007

ISLAMABAD, Aug 28: After a strong reaction from Pakistan, verbally and in writing, the coalition forces in Afghanistan on Tuesday retracted their earlier statement that Islamabad had permitted their strike in its territory on Saturday, which led to killing of 19 local militants.

A statement issued by the spokesman’s office of the Combined Joint Task Force in Afghanistan on Tuesday said: “It was released earlier that the Pakistan military had granted permission to Afghanistan and coalition forces to engage insurgent mortar positions along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border on Saturday, three of which were reported to be located in Pakistan. Upon further investigation by coalition officials it was discovered that permission was not given by Pakistan and there were no insurgent positions.”

Brig-Gen Joseph Votel, Deputy Commanding General for Operations of the Combined Joint Task Force-82, said: “Coalition forces and those with which we work are committed to respecting the sovereign borders of Pakistan.

“We regret the miscommunication in this event.”—APP

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