Pakistan Army rejects US report on NATO air strike

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Islamabad, Dec 23: Pakistani Army today (Dec 23) rejected a US-led inquiry report into a cross-border NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last month, saying it is "short on facts."

"The Pakistan Army does not agree with the findings of the US/NATO inquiry as is being reported in the media. The inquiry report is short on facts," chief military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas said.

"A detailed response will be given as and when the formal report is received," he said in a brief statement here.

Earlier, Brig Gen Stephen Clark, a US Air Force special operations officer who led the investigation into the incident, said an "overarching lack of trust" between the US and Pakistan and several key communication errors led to the NATO air strike near the Afghan border.

He said US forces used the wrong maps, were unaware of Pakistani border post locations and mistakenly provided the wrong location for the troops.

Clark described a confusing series of gaffes rooted in the fact that US and Pakistan do not trust each other enough to provide details about their locations and military operations along the border.

Meanwhile, releasing the report of its investigation, the Pentagon in Washington said its forces acted in self-defence but conceded there were mistakes. However, it refused to apologise for the incident.

"I think 'we regret' speaks to a sense of sympathy with the Pakistani people... I don't know -- an apology... You can figure that out for your own," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters when asked why the US was not using the term apology, which has been a major demand of Pakistan.

Pakistan had responded angrily to the attack by closing all NATO supply routes and forcing the US to vacate Shamsi airbase, reportedly used by CIA-operated drones.


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