NATO air strike: US willing to offer solatia payments to Pak

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Washington, Dec 23: In keeping with its practice in Afghanistan, the US is willing to offer solatia payments to the families of Pakistani soldiers killed in a cross-border NATO strike last month as it tries to resolve the crisis generated in its aftermath, a Pentagon spokesman said today (Dec 23).

The airstrike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and hit the fragile US-Pakistan ties hard, following which Pakistan shut down its NATO supply routes to Afghanistan in protest.

"In keeping with our normal practices in Afghanistan, the United States is willing to offer solatia payments as a sign of our regret for the loss of life," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told PTI.

"This is not necessarily a legal form of compensation, but it is a sign of regret for the loss of life," Little said in response to a question, adding that an offer has to be made and accepted in accordance with the normal practice for payments be made to each of the 24 families.

He said the US had accepted responsibility for the "mistakes" and admitted "shortcomings" after a thorough investigation.

"We have expressed our deepest regret for loss of life and extended our condolences," Little said when asked about the Pakistani demand that US should issue a formal apology.

"We have expressed our regret," he said. Earlier at a news conference, the Pentagon Press Secretary said the findings of the report would soon be shared with the Governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan, both of whom have already been briefed about it.

PTI

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