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Pakistani official says NATO raid was no mistake

Thursday - 12/15/2011, 3:14pm  ET

J.J. Green, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - A senior Pakistani defense official says despite NATO assertions, it was "impossible" for organization forces to erroneously attack an outpost where 24 Pakistani troops were killed last month.

On Nov. 26 at 2 a.m., two NATO Apache helicopters, a (U.S.) AC-130 gunship and an unknown number of fighter jets entered from Afghanistan one mile into the Pakistani border area of Salala in the Mohmand Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. They reportedly opened fire at two Pakistan Army checkpoints codenamed "Boulder" and "Volcano."

NATO says the raid was a mistake. But the official -- who spoke to WTOP on condition of anonymity -- says even though Pakistani and NATO officers were sitting side by side in a border control center when the raid started, the NATO representative did not pass any information about the impending event to the Pakistani military.

The Pakistani official says after the attack started, NATO was notified of what had happened and continued firing, even after acknowledging a mistake had been made. The official says they believe the AC-130 gunship -- one of the deadliest of all US military aircraft -- was used in the raid.

Last week Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it's unfortunate "the Pakistanis don't believe us."

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)