One Attack, Many Versions: US and Pakistan Differ on Deadly Air Raid

Pakistan Finding NATO's Stories Difficult to Swallow

Friday night’s US attack on a pair of Pakistani military bases, a deadly strike which left 24 soldiers dead and many others wounded, is still going through its usual periods of revision in the West, with diplomats struggling to come up with a story explaining why the killings weren’t that big of a deal.

The initial story had NATO calling in air support to defend its troops from an attack by militants from the other side of the border. This doesn’t really explain anything, of course, but Pakistan’s military is insisting its not true, with no evidence of any militants in the area and with the US attack targeting the bases directly for more than an hour.

Western officials are even terming the attack on the bases “self defense,” even though there is no indication that they are accusing the soldiers of doing anything and Pakistan says the troops were sleeping at the time.

The stories are all falling pretty well short of a good excuse for killing large numbers of Pakistani soldiers, and the Pakistani government doesn’t seem to be buying it. Pakistan’s military spokesman added that the post which suffered the brunt of the attack was on top of a mountain, adding that “militants don’t operate from mountain tops, from concrete structures.”

The elephant in the room of course, is the possibility that the US warplanes intentionally attacked a Pakistani military base. It isn’t clear why they would do this, but in the absence of a decent excuse for why warplanes would cross the border and attack a known base on top of a mountain on a clear night, it remains impossible to discount.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of