In an incident which may well be the sign of a major breakdown in relations, NATO attack helicopters launched another pair of attacks against Pakistani soil, defying warnings by the Pakistani government against cross-border raids and also destroying a security post near the border, killing three Pakistani soldiers and wounding three others.
NATO claims the first attack, which local officials described as 25 minutes of indiscriminate shelling, came against what it believed were a group of insurgents. The Pakistani troops saw the helicopters cross into Pakistani airspace and fired warning shots with rifles.
At which point NATO decided that the rifle fire was an attack by “several armed individuals” and fired missiles at them, destroying the well-known security post and killing three of the soldiers. NATO claims the killings were “self defense” but offered “condolences” to the families of those killed.
But the killings sparked outrage across Pakistan, which was already angered at previous helicopter raids into Pakistani territory. The government termed the attack “aggression” and has closed one of the key supply crossings to NATO traffic. Pakistan’s Senate is said to be pushing for further measures.