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Petraeus regrets NATO strike on Pakistan

Oct. 6, 2010 at 6:05 PM   |   Comments

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KABUL, Afghanistan, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. Gen. David Petraeus said Wednesday NATO helicopters mistakenly fired on a Pakistani border post Sept. 30, killing two soldiers and wounding two others.

An International Security Assistance Force assessment released Wednesday concluded coalition forces mistook warning fire for hostile fire before opening fire on the military outpost.

"ISAF offers its deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of those killed and wounded, to the Pakistan military, and the people of Pakistan," Petraeus said. "We deeply regret this tragic loss of life and will continue to work with the Pakistan military and government to ensure this doesn't happen again."

"We believe the Pakistani border guard was simply firing warning shots after hearing the nearby engagement and hearing the helicopters flying nearby," Air Force Brig. Gen. Tim Zadalis, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command director of air plans and the assessment team leader, said in a release. "This tragic event could have been avoided with better coalition force coordination with the Pakistan military."

Pakistan was enraged by the incident and quickly shut down NATO's supply route in the area.

"Throughout this period of tension, if you will ... [military-to-military] relations have proceeded," Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said Tuesday. "There was no disengagement. There were no reprisals in that sense. We have continued to work closely with the Pakistani military throughout the aftermath of this incident."

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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