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After NATO strike Pakistan Adjusts Rules of Engagement

Posted by on Saturday, December 3, 2011, 9:47
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Pakistan’s commanders in the wild Afghan border region can return fire if under attack without waiting for permission, the army chief said on Friday, a policy change that could stoke tensions after Saturday’s NATO strike killed 24 Pakistani troops.

Exactly what happened in the attack is unclear. Two U.S. officials told Reuters early indications were that Pakistani officials had cleared the NATO air strike, unaware they had troops in the area. A Pakistani official denied this.

The attack sparked fury in Pakistan and further complicated U.S.-led efforts to ease a crisis in relations with Islamabad, still seething at a secret U.S. raid in May which killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and stabilize the region before foreign combat troops leave Afghanistan in 2014.

“I do not want there to be any doubt in the minds of any commander at any level about the rules of engagement,” Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani said in a communique on Friday.

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