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Pak demands apology from NATO
Islamabad, Oct 6 (IANS/PTI):
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Published on 7 Oct. 2010 1:31 AM IST
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Pakistan has demanded an apology from NATO over an aerial attack that killed three of its troopers, but the coalition forces are only prepared to express regret over the incident that led to Islamabad blocking a key supply route to Afghanistan.
A joint investigation team of the Pakistani military and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has completed its initial investigation into aerial incursions by helicopters into Kurram Agency.
Dawn reported on Wednesday that the statement on the probe couldn’t be released on Tuesday as both sides were debating the phraseology. Three Pakistani troops were killed on Thursday when NATO helicopters entered the country’s airspace and fired at a military outpost along the Afghan border.
The media report quoted ISAF sources as saying that initial findings had been completed, but the wording of the statement was being negotiated. The coalition force had provide the Pakistan Army a draft of the statement and the Army responded by giving its own version to ISAF.
There was, however, an agreement that Pakistan’s airspace had been violated, another source said. ISAF is keen to call the violation an act in self-defence while Pakistanis want the coalition force to acknowledge that the event was avoidable. Pakistani military wants NATO to accept responsibility for the incident and agree on remedial measures through better coordination.
Islamabad is insistent that ISAF should apologise for the incident, but the coalition forces are only ready to express regrets and offer condolences to the families of the troopers killed in the strike.
Another attack on NATO tankers; 1 killed
Suspected Taliban militants today attacked and set afire 20 oil tankers carrying supplies for NATO forces in southwest Pakistan, killing one man in the third major assault on supply vehicles in two weeks.
The NATO tankers, on their way to Afghanistan, were attacked on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, early this morning, Deputy Inspector General Police Hamid Shakil said.
A group of gunmen opened fire at nearly 40 tankers parked at Akhtarabad along the main highway between Quetta and the border town of Chaman, a witness said. The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the past week’s attacks on NATO convoys and threatened more such assaults to avenge the US strikes against them.
In today’s attack, almost 20 tankers were destroyed but the rest were saved by police, Shakil said. He told reporters that a driver was killed and another injured. He said the attackers came in vehicles and fled after the assault. Fire fighters were called in to extinguish the blaze that erupted during the attack and police said they faced difficulties in their operation.
The contractors of NATO supply vehicles are responsible for their security when the trucks and tankers are parked. On Monday, militants attacked NATO tankers near the federal capital Islamabad, burning 28 vehicles and killing at least three people. On Friday, some 20 militants attacked a NATO convoy with rockets in Shikarpur, a city in southern Sindh province, burning nearly 30 tankers.
Also on Friday, rockets were fired at two NATO supply trucks in the southwestern city of Khuzdar. Two people were killed in the attack. The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attacks and threatened more assaults on NATO convoys. Militants have stepped up attacks on tankers and trucks in Pakistan after NATO helicopters carried out four air strikes in the tribal belt.
Three soldiers died in an air strike on September 27.
Pakistan blocked the main supply route for NATO trucks and tankers after the attacks and the ban entered its sixth day yesterday.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said the route was blocked due to anger in Pakistan over the air raids and that the supplies would be restored after the security situation is improved.
Some 70 per cent of supplies for NATO and US troops and 40 per cent of their fuel requirements are shipped to Afghanistan via Pakistan.

 
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