Air defense weapons deployed at border

Dec. 9, 2011 at 1:22 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Pakistan, outraged over the Nov. 26 NATO airstrike in Mohmand, will set up air defense weapons on the border with Afghanistan, a source told Dawn newspaper.

The plan was announced to the federal Cabinet and the Pakistani Senate defense committee during briefings by Maj. Gen. Ashfaq Nadeem, director general of the Pakistani military operations, a participant at one of the briefings told Dawn.

The NATO airstrike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, further aggravating the already strained Pakistan-U.S. relations. Even as NATO is investigating the airstrike, Pakistan has taken a number of steps to protest the strike, including closing the supply routes to coalition forces in Afghanistan and ordering the United States to vacate an airbase in Balochistsn Province.

"After the Nov. 26 NATO attack on two military check posts in the Mohmand Agency, we fear an attack from the western border. Hence a decision has been taken to deploy air defense weapons in that region," the source said.

Pakistani army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is reported to have authorized commanders near the border to strike back against any new incursion without prior approval of the top command.

Pakistan has claimed the Nov. 26 airstrike was unprovoked, but U.S. President Barack Obama, in his personal condolence message over the airstrike, made it clear to Pakistani President Asia Ali Zardari the strike was "not a deliberate attack on Pakistan and reiterated the United States' strong commitment to a full investigation."

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