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Pakistanis told to fire back at US

Posted on: December 3, 2011


Pakistani protesters burn a U.S. flag during an anti-Nato rally in Peshawar, Pakistan Photo: AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad

Pakistan’s top military commander has ordered the country’s troops to return fire should they come under attack again from U.S.-led coalition forces, a move that’s likely to increase tensions after an American-led air raid on two border outposts last week killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan’s army chief, issued the order in a letter Thursday that set out the rules of engagement against any “aggressor.”

The new orders came as Pakistan and U.S. officials continued to trade conflicting accounts of what happened in the incident, which American officials say came after a joint U.S.-Afghan unit took fire from the Pakistani side of the border but which Pakistani officials say was unprovoked. No American or Afghan casualties were reported in the incident, which now is thought to have occurred shortly after midnight Nov. 26.

The Pentagon said Pakistan has refused to participate in the U.S. investigation of the bombing. Defense Department spokesman George Little said the U.S. has asked Pakistan to be part of the investigation, but that the Pakistanis have “elected to date” to not participate.

Little refers to the bombing as a “bump in the road” for U.S.-Pakistani counterterrorism cooperation.

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