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Pakistan asks NATO to accept responsibility

01 pakistan newsISLAMABAD: A joint investigation team of the military and the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force has concluded an initial probe into recent aerial incursions by Isaf helicopters into Kurram Agency, but the communique could not come through on Tuesday because the two sides were haggling over the phraseology.

Sources in Isaf and Pakistan military told Dawn that a statement on the initial probe, which was slated to be released on Tuesday night, was now likely to be made public on Wednesday.

Three Pakistani troops were killed on Thursday when Isaf helicopters entered the country’s airspace and fired at a military outpost along the Afghan border.

The joint probe was agreed between Isaf and Pakistan Army to establish the facts on the basis of ‘operational reporting’ and a team of Pakistani military officials visited Afghanistan.

Isaf sources said initial findings had been completed, but the wording of the statement was being negotiated.

Isaf had given Pakistan Army a draft of the statement. In response, Pakistan Army gave its version to Isaf and the two statements are being reconciled.

The source said there was an agreement that Pakistan’s airspace had been violated.

As Isaf intends to describe the violation by an air weapons team as an action in self-defence, Pakistanis want the Isaf command to acknowledge that the event was avoidable.

The Pakistani side wants that Nato accept responsibility for the incident and agree on remedial measures through better coordination.

Pakistanis are adamant that Isaf should apologise for the incident, but the coalition forces are only ready to express regrets and offer condolences to the families of the soldiers killed in the strike.

The communique is particularly important because it would determine if the current strain in Pakistan-US ties caused by repeated violations by Nato helicopters would end or aggravate.

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