Home > Middle East > Pakistan anger at Nato-led cross-border raids

Pakistan anger at Nato-led cross-border raids


General David McKiernan, ISAF -d

General David McKiernan, ISAF -d

Pakistan has voiced anger at rare Nato-led raids at the weekend which crossed over its border from Afghanistan.

Apache helicopters are said to have taken part in the operations which killed more than 50 insurgents.

Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs said the raids, launched from the Khost region of Afghanistan, were a violation of its sovereignty.

Nato has again insisted that it was operating within its mandate and troops had a right to defend themselves.

The BBC‘s Adam Mynott in Islamabad says Pakistan’s comments were mainly aimed at a domestic audience, among which US military activity is often unpopular.

The International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said it had crossed over the border into Pakistan after coming under fire in the Khost region of Afghanistan. It said 49 insurgents had been killed.

Two Apache helicopters again crossed the border on Saturday, killing four to six insurgents, after coming under small-arms fire from the same area, it said.

Isaf has said the raids followed its rules of engagement in the region and that it has the right to enter Pakistan’s airspace while pursuing a target.

“Isaf forces must and will retain the authority, within their mandate, to defend themselves in carrying out their mission,” a Nato official told the AFP news agency.

‘Unacceptable’

But in a statement, Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs said the incidents had been “a clear violation and breach of the UN mandate under which Isaf operates”.

It said Isaf’s mandate ended at the Afghan border and there were “no agreed ‘hot pursuit’ rules” allowing Isaf troops to cross into Pakistan.

“Any impression to the contrary is not factually correct. Such violations are unacceptable.

Apache helicopter (File photo) The raids were reported to have involved the use of Apache helicopters

“In the absence of immediate corrective measures, Pakistan will be constrained to consider response options.”

Islamabad backs much of the military action taking place against insurgents operating around the border region in Afghanistan, says our correspondent.

So the strong statement is largely directed at a domestic audience in Pakistan, he adds, among whom anti-American sentiment has been fuelled by the escalating numbers of unmanned drone attacks on targets in the country.

Isaf has not revealed the location of the raid operation or which country’s forces were involved. It said no civilians were killed in the operation, but this has not been independently confirmed.

Isaf’s force was established by the UN in late 2001 with a stated mission of promoting security and development. It is also training Afghan soldiers and police.

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