US suspects NATO forces lured into deadly raid

The NATO air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers over the weekend in an apparent case of mistaken identity, The Associated Press has learned.

A joint US-Afghan patrol was attacked by the Taliban early Saturday morning, and while pursuing the enemy in the poorly marked border area, seem to have mistaken one of the Pakistan troop outposts for a militant encampment and called in a NATO gunship and attack helicopters to open fire.

US officials say the account suggests the Taliban may have deliberately tried to provoke a cross-border firefight that would set back fragile partnerships between the US and NATO forces and Pakistani soldiers at the ill-defined border.

Officials described the records on condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters.
The incident sent the perpetually difficult US-Pakistan relationship into a tailspin.
Gen James Mattis, head of US Central Command, announced Monday that he has appointed Brig Gen Stephen Clark, an Air Force special operations officer, to lead the probe of the incident, and said he must include input from the NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, as well as representatives from the Afghan and Pakistani governments.
According to the US military records described to the AP, the joint US and Afghan patrol requested backup after being hit by mortar and small arms fire by Taliban militants.
Officials described the records on condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters.

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