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Afghanistan Foundation Criticizes Pakistan Border Closure

Afghanistan Foundation Criticizes Pakistan Border Attack, Closure

Washington, D.C., Peshawar, Pakistan,and Kabul, Afghanistan
November 26, 2011

The Afghanistan Foundation has issued a statement expressing concern about the reported attack today by NATO forces on Pakistani troops, leaving at least 24 dead and 13 wounded, according to military and civil officials in the Khyber Pass tribal area and Islamabad. Some official reports indicate the death toll, and the number wounded by the alleged helicopter-rocket attack in Pakistan, may be higher.

The Afghanistan Foundation has also called upon Pakistan to reopen border crossings with Afghanistan, as soon as possible, following an official investigation of the attack.

“We are deeply concerned by reports that NATO helicopters and jet aircraft of the International Security Assistance Force, ISAF, based in Afghanistan, are reported to have fired upon members of the Pakistan military, on Pakistan’s territory, in pre-dawn attacks along the Afghan border in the Baizai area of Mohmand district,” said Philip Smith, President and Director of the Afghanistan Foundation in Washington, D.C. http://www.afghanistan-foundation.org

Smith continued: “The reported killing today by ISAF and NATO forces of at least 24 members of Pakistan’s armed forces, and the wounding of 13 others, if details of the incident and casualty numbers are confirmed, represents a great tragedy and a further serious setback to U.S.-Pakistan relations. Indeed, the problematic security situation along the Afghan-Pakistan border, and elsewhere in Afghanistan, will be set back further if this deplorable incident and emerging crisis is not fully addressed in a timely manner.”

“Pakistan has remained an important ally of the United States during key periods of the Cold War, and during critical years of conflict in Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East,” Smith observed.

Smith further stated: “The Afghanistan Foundation, and key policymakers in Washington, D.C., are also calling upon Pakistan to reopen border crossings with Afghanistan, as soon as possible, following a full an official investigation of the attack, so that American-led ISAF and NATO forces can continue to be logistically supplied in Afghanistan as part of the ongoing commitment of the United States and international community to Afghanistan’s security.”

“At this critical time, we are also very concerned that NATO trucks are being stopped at Torkham , and at other Afghan-Pakistan border crossing points, and have been prevented from resupplying the U.S. and NATO-led war effort in Afghanistan,” Smith commented. “It may be that Pakistan will close the border with Afghanistan for 10 days, as was done last year, or the closure could extend significantly longer because of the apparent deterioration in relations between the United States and Pakistan as well as President Karzai’s recent high-level security pact with India.”

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, President Asif Ali Zardari, and army chief of staff General Ashfaq Kayani, are slated to hold an emergency meeting today of senior cabinet ministers and military generals of the army, air force and navy.

General Kayani and senior Pakistani military and intelligence officials, including elements of the Pakistan Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) agency, have indicated the potential closure, within 15 days, of the covert U.S. drone and clandestine-operations base at Shamsi, in Baluchistan, Pakistan.

U.S. General John Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO/ ISAF forces in Afghanistan, expressed condolences for any Pakistan forces that may have been killed or wounded in the border incident.

The Afghanistan Foundation is a non-profit and non-governmental organization (NGO) focused on research, education, policy analysis, international security, economic development, humanitarian affairs and other issues in Afghanistan-- and the regions of South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.

http://www.afghanistanfoundation.net
http://www.afghanistan-foundation.org

ENDS

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