Pakistan Army say NATO’s Salala attack was deliberate aggression
The year 2011 can be termed as most turbulent year in Pakistan and United States relation after 9/11. The year started off with Raymond Davis incident, followed by US Navel Seal attack killing Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad near Islamabad, and NATO attack on Pakistani soldiers at Salala border area etc. Public outcry on innocent death from drone attacks has increased during the year and so as the hatred for US led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces. NATO airstrike on Pakistani check post in Salala on November 26th that killed 24 and injured 12 Pakistani soldiers has further escalate the tension between the Pakistan Army and NATO forces. This check post was located in the Tehsil Bayzai area of Mohmand Agency near border Pak Afghan border.
Pakistan Army has said that NATO cross border air strike was a blatant act of aggression. They were clearly warned that they were attacking a Pakistani posts but their aircraft continued attacking the post killing Pakistani soldiers. They have also said that the detailed information regarding the post was already provided to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and it is simply impossible that they were not aware of Pakistani presence. NATO destroyed post is about 300 meters into Pakistan. Whereas ISAF claimed that that border area is disputed.
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) ‘Director General’ Major General Abbas has turndown NATO Chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen vague apology saying it was not enough. He further added that Pakistan reserve the right to respond to any such incursion. He said that Pakistan Army has wiped out militancy from Mohmand Agency and their neighbors were fully aware about the situation. He dismissed the allegation made by NATO and western media that Pakistani troops had fired at them first. NATO helicopters attack Pakistan’s check post two times during the incident. They kept on firing for 45 minutes in their first attack and later they return to continue firing for over an hour. They never tried to contact their Pakistani counterpart during these attacks. Washington Post has reported that US is planning to launch its independent investigation into the Mohmand Agency incident.
United State led NATO drone attacks have killed hundreds of innocent civilians in the Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan. Analyst says that civilian deaths is making Pakistan Army and government’s campaign against militancy difficult which is making progress in previously neglected tribal belt.
In response, Pakistan Army has conveyed United States through its government to vacate Shamsie Airbase in Balochistan within 15 days. This airbase location is considered as strategic in launching air force mission in the region. Pakistan has gone further to block all NATO supplies through its territory. Previously supplies were temporarily suspended due to similar NATA attacks. As a protest, Pakistan has also decided to boycott international conference in Bonn due in first week of December. Without the Pakistani presence any progress in conference on Afghanistan peace and stability would be fruitless. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has regretted Pakistan decision of pulling out from Bonn conference.
This attack can be term as worst incident that has caused the tension between the Pakistan and NATO armed forces. There is growing frustration in Pakistani public who are suffering from increasing militancy spreading inside Pakistan as a result of Pakistan and NATO action in tribal areas. Thousands of innocent civilian have lost their lives in suicide bombing and violence since 2001 when Pakistani government decided to become the ally of United States led war against terrorism.