NATO has admitted it is “highly likely” its aircraft killed Pakistani soldiers in a raid that left up to 28 of them dead.
The troops were said to be sleeping when ISAF helicopters pounded a Pakistani checkpoint in the Mohmand region, after crossing the Afghan border.
“The commander of the International Security Assistance Force has stated that he is personally paying the highest attention to this matter and that he is committed to thoroughly investigate and determine the facts,” said ISAF spokesman, Brigadier-General Carsten Jacobson.
The government of Pakistan reacted with fury.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called an emergency cabinet meeting. Denouncing an attack on Pakistani sovereignty, he said the nation was united in its defence.
“We will not allow anybody to attack our country,”
Pakistan has retaliated by shutting down vital NATO supply routes into Afghanistan.
Islamabad’s relations with Washington, already frayed after the US raid into Pakistan that killed Osama Bin Laden in May, have just plunged further into crisis.