– NATO attack allegedly kills 24 Pakistani troops (AP, Nov. 26, 2011)
– Pakistan demands US vacate suspected drone base (AP, Nov. 26, 2011):
ISLAMABAD — The Pakistani government has demanded the U.S. vacate an air base within 15 days that the CIA is suspected of using for unmanned drones.
The government issued the demand Saturday after NATO helicopters and jet fighters allegedly attacked two Pakistan army posts along the Afghan border, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Islamabad outlined the demand in a statement it sent to reporters following an emergency defense committee meeting chaired by Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
Shamsi Air Base is located in southwestern Baluchistan province. The U.S. is suspected of using the facility in the past to launch armed drones and observation aircraft to keep pressure on Taliban and al-Qaida militants in Pakistan’s tribal region.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan blocked vital supply routes for U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan on Saturday after coalition helicopters and fighter jets allegedly killed 24 Pakistani troops at two posts along a mountainous frontier that serves as a safe haven for militants.
The incident was a major blow to American efforts to rebuild an already tattered alliance vital to winding down the 10-year-old Afghan war. Islamabad called the carnage in one of its tribal areas a “grave infringement” of the country’s sovereignty and warned it could affect future cooperation with Washington, which is seeking Pakistan’s help in bringing Afghan insurgents to the negotiating table.
A NATO spokesman said it was likely that coalition airstrikes caused Pakistani casualties, but an investigation was being conducted to determine the details. If confirmed, it would be the deadliest friendly fire incident by NATO against Pakistani troops since the Afghan war began a decade ago.