… Helicopters carried U.S. and Afghan commandos many miles into Pakistan on Wednesday to stage the first U.S. ground attack against a Taliban target inside the country, Pakistani officials said. At least 20 local people died in the raid, according to the officials.
Pakistan filed a formal protest with the U.S. government, which had no comment on what appeared to be a new escalation of U.S. pressure on Taliban andal-Qaeda sanctuaries in Pakistan’s mountainous border regions. … U.S. forces based in Afghanistan have periodically conducted air and artillery strikes against insurgents across the border in Pakistani territory, and new hot-pursuit rules provide some room for American troops to maneuver during battle. But the arrival of U.S. helicopters in the village of Musa Nika, deep in undisputed Pakistani territory, would constitute a new tactic.
Mohammed Sadiq, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry, condemned a “gross violation of Pakistan’s territory” and “a grave provocation.” In a written statement, he said his office lodged a formal complaint with the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.
… U.S. military officials in Afghanistan, at the Central Command in Tampa and at the Pentagon maintained a wall of silence, saying they had no comment on the Pakistani reports.
… One of the homes belonged to local tribesman Pao Jan Ahmedzai Wazir, according to Anwar Shah, a resident of a neighboring village. Several women and children who were inside Wazir’s house and two other homes nearby were killed when U.S. and Afghan troops fired on the buildings, he said. “The situation there is very terrible. People are trying to take out the dead bodies,” Shah said. … A NATO spokesman in Afghanistan said foreign forces are generally prohibited from mounting cross-border attacks into Pakistan. The spokesman, who gave his name only as Sgt. Yates, said NATO forces occasionally use artillery or missiles to target insurgents who attack foreign troops from Pakistani territory, but the rules of engagement are very precise. “Our area of operations stops at the border. We don’t go over the border, period,” Yates said.
In Afghanistan, NATO and U.S. military operations have recently come under scrutiny because of an airstrike that Afghan and U.N. officials said killed 90 civilians two weeks ago. On Wednesday, McKiernan said that he concurred with a U.S. military investigation that found that five civilians died in the incident. – washpost
Okay, confess, how many of you didn’t even know that Afghanistan and Pakistan share a common border?