US told to leave airbase within 15 days.
ISLAMABAD – Pakistan has ordered a review of all co-operation with the US and NATO after the alliance struck a Pakistani army checkpoint, killing at least 24 people, the BBC informs. A committee chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also decided to cut supply lines to NATO in Afghanistan. The committee also said the United States would be asked to vacate, within 15 days, the Shamsi air base, which the US has used to launch drones. Pakistan’s government also summoned the US ambassador.
President Barack Obama’s administration has offered its “deepest condolences”. In a statement, Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, and Leon Panetta, defence secretary, offered their condolences and said they “support fully NATO’s intention to investigate immediately”. They stressed the “importance of the US-Pakistani partnership, which serves the mutual interests of our people” and pledged to remain in close contact with their Pakistani counterparts.
Mr Gilani called the attack a “grave infringement of Pakistan’s sovereignty”.
Pakistani officials said there had been no militant activity in the area, and most of the Pakistani soldiers were asleep. They also said NATO had the grid references of the posts and therefore should not have fired.
Pakistan has buried the 24 troops on Sunday. Army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani led mourners in funeral prayers at military headquarters in the north-western city of Peshawar. The NATO secretary general said it was a “tragic unintended” incident, and pledged to ensure such attacks don’t reoccur, CNN reports.
“NATO remains strongly committed to work with Pakistan to improve cooperation to avoid such tragedies in the future,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement.
Pakistan shut down two NATO supply routes in response to the attack, military and intelligence officials said.
NATO trucks have used the routes, in Khyber Agency and Balochistan, to supply U.S. and international forces fighting in Afghanistan.
The incident could be the deadliest for Pakistani soldiers involving NATO since a U.S. airstrike in June 2008, which Pakistan said killed 11 of its forces who were cooperating with the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.