U.S. officials are claiming that Pakistan had given their approval for the American airstrikes that accidentally killed 24 Pakistan soldiers on Saturday, adding to the messy aftermath and political posturing of this friendly-fire tragedy. The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. officials called Pakistani officials when American troops thought they were being fired upon by Taliban militants, and that the Pakistani representatives at the call center said there were no Pakistani military forces in the area and cleared the way for the Americans to conduct the airstrike. It's just the preliminary steps of an investigation that is set to wrap up on December 23, but it informs why President Obama decided not to personally apologize for the incident, a move The New York Times described as "overruling State Department officials who argued for such a show of remorse to help salvage America’s relationship with Pakistan." Pakistan is, understandably (who wants to get blamed for the deadliest friendly-fire in the 10-year war?) not admitting fault, adding to the "he said, she said" back and forth between blame-happy, unnamed military officials that started the moment this tragedy unfolded. "A senior Pakistani military officer said it was impossible for the U.S. not to know it was firing at Pakistani military bases," reports The Journal, which noted a retort from an unnamed U.S. official. "If you hear American helicopters why would you lob mortars and machine gun fire at them? The Pakistanis can say we thought it was insurgents, except for the fact that the Taliban doesn't have helicopters," said the U.S. official.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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