Washington, June 12 : A spokesman for the US coalition forces operating in Afghanistan has said that Pakistan was informed about the attack on the check post at Mohmand Agency in NWFP, which killed 11 Frontier Corps' troops, and that it was carried out in self-defence.
Confirming the aerial attack, spokesman for the US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan, Lt. Nathan Perry, said that the attack was carried out after an unmanned aerial system identified anti-Afghan forces firing at coalition forces. "In self-defence, coalition forces fired artillery rounds at the militants," the Dawn quoted Perry as saying.
He added that the coalition forces had come under fire "during an operation that had been previously coordinated with Pakistan". "Shortly after the attack began, coalition forces informed the Pakistan Army that they were being engaged by anti-Afghan forces in a wooded area near the Gora Prai checkpoint," he said.
Lt Perry claimed that an unmanned aerial system identified additional anti-Afghan forces joining the attack against the coalition forces. "While maintaining positive identification of the enemy, close-air support was then used by coalition forces to gain fire superiority until the threat was eliminated," the spokesman said and added, "at no time did coalition ground forces cross into Pakistan."
To a question if missiles and artillery shells fired by coalition forces hit targets inside Pakistan, the spokesman said: "Yes, that's correct."
US-led NATO forces have launched several air strikes inside Pakistan's tribal areas over the last year, but this is the first time that the Pakistan Army has directly blamed US-led NATO forces for killing its soldiers.
The attack assumes significance even as it came a couple of days after chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen warned that Al Qaeda leaders operating in Pakistan's tribal areas were planning new terrorist attacks against the US and urged Islamabad to eliminate their sanctuary.
Admiral Mullen had also called upon Pakistani authorities to enforce any deals they strike with tribal leaders in the FATA and to require not only the expulsion of Al Qaeda, but also a halt to the flow of insurgents across the border into Afghanistan.
He said that if any attack on the US was traced back to Pakistan, his country might have to launch unilateral strikes to fight out the militants.