US officials had stood firm in their convictions that the attack on a Pakistani security post and the killing of three Pakistani Frontier Corps soldiers therein was “self defense,” and had even maintained that the Pakistanis would get over their public anger in short order.
But five days later the border is still closed, the public is still angry, and militants are burning NATO supply vehicles with virtual impunity. Lip service about America’s “commitment” to Pakistan, it seems, doesn’t go as far as it used to.
So NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, ever the Afghan War enthusiast and not wanting to see his disastrous conflict damaged by the lack of war supplies, offered an “apology” today for the killings. Or, according to Pakistan’s media, a “lesser apology.”
Rasmussen insisted that the killings were unintended, which flies in the face of evidence that the attack helicopters directly targeted the well known border post, and US comments that the attack came because of “small arms fire” from the base.
Five days and scores of torched supply trucks later, the apology must seem more than a little self-serving. Tensions between the two sides seem likely to remain on the rise, at least in the near term.
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