Pakistan, NATO Hold Border Talks Following Deadly Attack

Posted February 8th, 2012 at 8:35 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistani military and NATO officials are holding talks on border security after last November's cross-border coalition attack that killed 24 Pakistani troops.

That attack brought relations between the United States and Pakistan to a new low and prompted Pakistan to block NATO supply routes into Afghanistan.

The Pakistani army said Wednesday's talks were taking place at a border coordination center in the town of Torkham. The operations chief for the Pakistani army, Major General Ashfaq Nadeem, attended the meeting.

Officials in Islamabad have said the supply routes will eventually be re-opened to NATO, but with Pakistan charging higher fees.

Last month, Pakistan's army rejected a U.S. military probe into the November 26 cross-border coalition attack. The army said it did not agree with U.S. findings that American forces acted in self-defense and with appropriate force after being fired on by Pakistani soldiers.

U.S. defense officials blamed inadequate coordination by both American and Pakistani forces.

Ties between the two countries were already strained following last May's U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden and repeated U.S. drone strikes targeting militants in Pakistan's northwest.

Pakistani officials say the latest drone attack, which took place in the North Waziristan tribal region on Wednesday, killed 10 people.

Officials say two missiles hit a compound suspected of belonging to militants. Security officials say the dead included foreigners and locals.

Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama publicly acknowledged for the first time that the United States uses drone strikes against militants in Pakistan.

Mr. Obama defended the operations, which have greatly increased during his administration, saying they are used for “very precise, precision strikes” in the fight against al-Qaida.

The Washington-based New America Foundation says drone strikes in Pakistan have killed between 1,700 and 2,700 people in the past eight years.

Pakistan rejects the attacks as a violation of its sovereignty.