Pak tribes ready to defend borders after US missile attack

Pakistan denied the U.S. version that the offensive was coordinated and summoned U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson to the foreign ministry to a lodge protest on Thursday.

Pak tribes ready to defend borders after US missile attack
Fiercely independent tribesmen, angered by a U.S. air strike that killed 11 Pakistani soldiers earlier in the week, vowed to raise a militia to help Pakistan's army defend the border with Afghanistan.

Pakistan denounced Tuesday's attack on a border post in the Mohmand tribal region as "unprovoked and cowardly" and said it had undermined the cooperation with US.

Elders from ethnic Pashtun tribes in Mohmand, one of seven semi-autonomous tribal regions, issued a statement late on Thursday condemning the attack as "naked aggression" and said they were ready to raise a "lashkar", or tribal army.

"It's the duty of the government to protect and defend the frontiers and we are ready to raise a lashkar to help our army in their cause," the elders said.

"We are ready to fight for our homeland as we fought in Kashmir in 1948," it said, referring to the first war between Pakistan and India just a year after their independence from British rule.

The soldiers killed were manning a border post around 35 km (22 miles) northwest of Ghalanai, Mohmand's main town.

Images 

A video released by the NATO-led forces showed footage of the encounter shot by a reconnaissance drone aircraft, complete with a voice-over describing the incident.

The video was posted on the internet site http://www.dvidshub.net/media/video/0806/DOD_100020431.wmv.

The U.S. military said the operation was coordinated with Pakistan and the Pentagon defended U.S. forces, saying initial indications pointed to a "legitimate strike" carried out in self-defence after they came under attack.

Pakistan denied the U.S. version that the offensive was coordinated and summoned U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson to the foreign ministry to a lodge protest on Thursday.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Thursday he invited Pakistani and Afghan officials to help investigate the incident.

The casualties suffered by Pakistani security forces in Tuesday's attack was by far the worst in the nearly eight years since the alliance was formed in 2001.

Authorities in the North West Frontier Province, bordering Afghanistan, have called for a review of cooperation with Washington if such attacks continued.

Reuters
Last Mod: 13 Haziran 2008, 16:53
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