US army probe blames communication delays for deadly November 26 Pak airstrike

Washington, Dec 27(ANI): A US military probe into the November 26 airstrike has highlighted a breakdown in communication by pointing out that a NATO operations officer in Afghanistan took about 45 minutes to inform a senior allied commander about Pakistan's calls that its outposts were attacked.

According to the US Central Command report, a NATO liaison officer in Pakistan notified the night director in an allied operations centre in Afghanistan at 12:35 a.m. on November 26 but failed to alert a top leader, Major General James Laster until 1:20 a.m., after which the attack had ended.

The NATO officials "did not respond correctly, quickly enough or with the sense of urgency or initiative required given the gravity of the situation and the well known sensitivity surrounding the Afghan-Pakistan border region," The New York Times quoted the report, as saying.

The delay, by at least one officer, raises questions about whether a faster response could have averted the death of Pakistani soldiers.

The military's report also revealed that an American AC-130 gunship intruded two miles into Pakistan's airspace to fire on troops, who had attacked a joint American-Afghan ground patrol just across the border in Afghanistan.

The 30-page report also found that competing NATO and American rules of engagement related to operations along the border "lacked clarity and precision, and were not followed."

The report also highlighted trust deficit between the US and Pakistan by pointing out that American officials did not trust Pakistan enough to give it detailed information about their troop locations in Afghanistan, and Pakistan had not informed NATO of the locations of its new border posts.

The report recommended nine changes, including reviewing and coordinating all orders related to border operations, increased training, improved surveillance before missions, and more updated information on the location of border installations on both sides. (ANI)