The Pentagon has defended a US airstrike on the Pakistan-Afghan border which has brought relations between the two countries to their lowest ebb since the start of the war on terror. 11 Pakistani soldiers are said to have died when US forces in Afghanistan launched a cross-border counter-offensive against pro-Taliban militants in Pakistan.
Officials say the strike was carried out in self-defence and, as such, was legitimate. “I’m not going to get into the hypothetical here. We are going to get to the bottom of this and we will eventually know who was targeted and who, unfortunately, perished or fortunately perished in this attack. And when we do, we’ll certainly let you know.”, Pentagon spokesperson Geoff Morrell told journalists during a briefing.
Assistant US Secretary of State Richard Boucher expressed regret. “The Pakistani military have been partners with us in the war on terror. They have lost too many people themselves to the terrorists and it is just very sad to see that they somehow got killed in this incident.”
At the scene of the attack in Pakistan’s mountainous tribal region of Mohman, spent cartridges litter the ground. The Pakistani Foreign ministry said the attack was unprovoked and amounted to a gross violation of the international border.