US air strike kills 11 Pak soldiers in Mohmand

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Islamabad, Jun 12: A US led air strike on wednesday near Afghan border killed 11 Pakistani soldiers. Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the Tuesday night US air strike in the Mohmand Agency in NWFP, killing 11 Frontier Corps troops. The Prime Minister said that his government would take steps to ensure the country's sovereignty. The country's Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Sadiq said "a strong protest is being launched with the coalition", against the air strike.

NWFP Governor Owais Ghani and CM Ameer Hoti described the incident as "a naked aggression" against Pakistan. Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell claimed that the air strike was "legitimate" and in "self-defence," on Wednesday. The US State Department said that it was "sad to see the loss of life" among allied Pakistani troops. The US-led coalition in Afghanistan had earlier said that the air strike had targeted militants in the area, reported the Daily Times. Quoting a military statement, the paper said that a FC border check-post in Mohmand Agency was destroyed by coalition forces in Afghanistan by an aerial attack. "11 security forces personnel, including one officer, embraced shahadat," it said. Sources, however, said the death toll could be higher than what the authorities confirmed. "There is report that another 13 paramilitary soldiers are missing, who are feared dead," sources said and added that four civilians were among the 11 killed.

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ISPR spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas said the attack hit at the very basis of co-operation and sacrifice with which Pakistani soldiers were supporting the coalition. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Maulvi Umar said that eight militants were among those killed in the US airstrike.

A security official told Daily Times that the Afghan Army, backed by US forces, attempted to set up a post on ground inside Pakistani territory, yet retreated later upon the FC's request. Militants, however, attacked the Afghan troops, who called for US air cover, the official said on condition of anonymity. "US forces then bombed the area relentlessly, also hitting a security check-post manned by FC jawans," he said.

ANI

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