US-Pakistan relations hit a snag following a US air strike which killed 11 Pakistani soldiers. The attack took place along the volatile Afghan border, in the Mohmand tribal region. The US claims that, the attack was coordinated with the Pakistani army. But Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani registered a strong protest.
REKHA VISWANATHAN (VOICEOVER): US-Pakistani relations hit a snag following a US air strike, which killed eleven Pakistani soldiers on Tuesday. The attack took place along the volatile Afghan border in the Mohmand tribal region.
SEED AMAN, PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): Pakistan army soldiers were on duty in Mohmand Agency. US military personnel came and surrounded them and the tribe, they start firing on them as well as on us, so the Mohmand tribe and the Pakistani soldiers fought them. The US forces ran away as people were coming back, then suddenly bomber air crafts came and started bombing. It’s due to that that so many people were killed or injured.
VISWANATHAN: US strikes inside Pakistani territory now happen on virtually a daily basis. Unmanned drones have killed scores of people over the past two years. The US claims that in this instance the attack was coordinated with the Pakistani army. But Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani registered a strong protest.
YOUSUF RAZA GILANI, PRIME MINISTER, PAKISTAN (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): I asked the foreign ministry to protest immediately, and I myself, with all of you present here, strongly condemn it (the strike). We will take a stand for the sovereignty, dignity, and self-respect of this country, and will not allow anyone to use our soil, and we fully condemn it.
VISWANATHAN: US defense press secretary Geoff Morrell claimed it was a justified strike on the unit that had initiated the attacks.
GEOFF MORRELL, US DEFENSE DEPT. PRESS SECRETARY: In these early hours after this strike, every indication that we have is that this was a legitimate strike against forces that had attacked members of the coalition.
VISWANATHAN: The already fragile relationship between the US and the newly elected Pakistani Parliament is now even more precarious. Some say that President Pervez Musharraf brokered a deal with the US to allow military strikes within Pakistan’s borders. The air strike coincides with a recent report by the RAND Corporation that says that members of Pakistan’s intelligence services often directly assist groups such as the Taliban, a claim strongly rejected by Pakistani officials.
Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.