PESHAWAR: Pakistan on Sunday buried 24 troops killed in a Nato cross-border air raid that has pushed a crisis in relations with the United States towards rupture.
The attack was the latest perceived provocation by the United States, starting with the secret raid which killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May, and the question is whether ties will break or whether the two sides will remain stuck in a bad marriage of convenience.
Nato helicopters and fighter jets attacked two Pakistan military outposts on Saturday, killing the soldiers in what Pakistan said was an unprovoked assault.
Nato and US officials expressed regret about the deaths of the Pakistani soldiers, but the exact circumstances of the attack were unclear.
Television stations showed the coffins of the soldiers draped in green and white Pakistani flags in a prayer ceremony at the headquarters of the regional command in Peshawar.
About 500 members of Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan's most influential religious party, staged a protest in Mohmand tribal area, where the Nato attack took place.
“Down with America” and “Jihad is The Only Answer to America”, they yelled.
Around 40 troops were stationed at the outposts at the time of the attack, military sources said. Two officers were reported among the dead.
“They without any reasons attacked on our post and killed soldiers asleep,” said a senior Pakistani officer, requesting anonymity.