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Pakistani official: NATO strike deliberate

Dec. 17, 2011 at 10:43 AM   |   Comments

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Pakistani officials say they believe a NATO-led airstrike near the Afghan border last month that resulted in the deaths of more than 24 Pakistanis was planned.

In an effort to get ahead of NATO's official investigation, senior Pakistani Embassy officials spoke in Washington to give a briefing on the incident, CNN reported Friday.

"I have a story to tell and this is the story of those brave people who left us in the middle of a cold, November night on a barren mountain top," began a senior Pakistani defense official, who spoke under the condition of anonymity.

The official used maps, photos and PowerPoint charts to describe in great detail the Pakistani version of events.

He contended that well-established operating procedures and systems of information sharing were intentionally ignored by U.S. troops that led to the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers.

American officials have denied these claims but decline to give their versions of events, citing an ongoing NATO investigation.

"What I can say, absolutely, and I can't imagine anyone in this room wouldn't believe me -- we did not attack a border post, a Pakistan military border post, intentionally," Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in Washington last week. "If you think we did, I'd have to ask you in return what in the world would we hope to gain by doing that? So I can say that categorically.

"They believe we did this intentionally in some way to either discredit them or goad them into further action," he said.

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