In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
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Full Text of Official Pakistan Army Response to Salala Post Attack Part 2

Continued from Part 1 here. 
22.       As there are legal implications of using a force as the US / ISAF did, in the manner  that  it  did,  therefore,  “self  defence has  been  used  to  justify  an unwarranted and disproportionate response. The ROE of self defence could have only been used, if the fire had  been effective, hence the Investigation Report goes to great lengths to assert that Pakistani fire was effective a second mortar round, which landed only 50m from the group, divided the  force (Reference: Page 16, Para 24, Lines 1-2). If the fire of mortar landed so close, there should have been casualties, but according to the US / ISAF Investigation Report itself, …….by 0400 hours they were back at their base with no casualties” (Reference: Page 18, Para 31).  Not  only was the response, not in  self defence, it was


disproportionate, excessive and sustained which resulted in death of 24 soldiers while  13  sustained  injuries.  The  unprovoked  engagement  thus  left  behind  7 widows  and  1 orphans By  the  Investigation  Reports  own  admission  it continued for 90 minutes (actually it continued for two hours) and it involved two F 15s, two Attack Helicopters (AH) 64 Apaches, one Attack Cargo (AC) 130 and a Multi-mission Cargo (MC) - 12 Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft. There were drones in the air as well. The F-15s, Apaches and AC-
130 all unloaded full ordnance, including Hellfire missiles on the Pakistani Posts, At 0039 hours, an AH-64D engaged an identified tripod weapon inside a bunker in  EA-1  (Engagement  Area-1)  and  destroyed  it  with  a  HELLFIRE  missile(Reference: Page 13, Para 12, Lines 15 through 17 of US Investigation Report). These  weapon  platforms  continuous  engagement,  spread  over  as  long  as almost  2  hours,  does  not  support  the  assertion  that  the  force  used  was proportionate and  in self defence.  To  justify the grave US /  ISAF excesses committed on the night of 25/26 November, the Investigation Report tries to contort the  facts  and confuse the issue by stating that, The explosions of the AC-130H                 engagement     reverberated              around    the       valleys.                     Despite             the effectiveness  of the engagement, the GF continued to be engaged by mortars and machine guns” (Reference: Page 17, Para 25, Lines 4-5, Para 26, Lines 1-
2). Any person even with rudimentary understanding of military operations would know, that when under attack from aerial platforms, the ground troops in this case Pakistani Border Posts personnel would respond to the immediate threat i.e. aerial platforms firing on them rather than on a ground force one and a half to two kilometres away. This is exactly what the Pakistani Posts did fired back at the helicopters, in self defence with all available weapons including artillery.

23.       Despite being informed by Pakistan at 2340 Afghan Standard Time (AST) about the aggression by US forces, the engagement of Pakistani Posts continued until 0104 (AST) (Paraphrased by Pakistan Military - References: Annex D, Page D-6, Serial N and Page 13, Para 12 of US Investigation Report) for as long as
1 hour and 24 minutes. In the process, every soldier on and around the posts, even on  reverse slope of the Ridge, was individually targeted. This pattern of


engagement cannot be justified by calling it „self defence. According to the US Investigation  Report, three main aerial fire engagements of Pakistani Posts by US / ISAF took place.  Multiple fire engagements by US aerial platforms took place after information about US / ISAF aggression against the Pakistani Posts had been shared at multiple levels, by Pakistan  Military, and after Pakistani Military was assured that the fire engagement was being stopped.

24.       While this extended fire engagement of Pakistani Posts was going on, the Pakistani  Liaison Officer at NBCC was informed about an incident just after midnight (Reference: Page 14, Para 14, Line 11 of US Investigation Report). By this time both the Pakistani Border Posts had already been targeted by fire. Even when the information was shared, albeit extremely belatedly, with Liaison Officer NBCC, it was of a general area 14 kilometres north of the actual  engagement area (Paraphrased by Pakistan Military - Reference: Page 14, Para 14 of US Investigation Report).

25.       It is evident from the US Investigation Report that Pakistani Liaison Officer was intentionally not provided with specific map references i.e. LAT/ LONGs The BSO (Battle Space Owner) (TF (Task Force) BRONCO), then called the NBCC to report the GF was being engaged. Per RC-E instructions, the BSO passed the exact grid location of the source of  hostile  fire to the NBCC but informed the NBCC to only pass a general location to the  NBCCs PAKMIL LNO (Liaison Officer) as part of the NBCCs effort to have the NBCCs PAKMIL LNO confirm whether or not PAKMIL were at the location of the hostile fire. The NBCC then passed a general location to their PAKMIL LNO using GIRoA (Government of Islamic  Republic  of  Afghanistan)  district  borders  as  a  geographic  reference
{Reference: Page 22, Para (3) & (4) of US Investigation Report }. At no stage did the Pakistani Liaison Officer say that there were no Pakistani Military Troops in the area. He just could not have said so without map references being provided to him. Therefore, the US Investigation Report is amiss when it states on Page
22, Para 4, Lines 4  and  5 that  the  Pakistani  LO  stated  that there  were no


Pakistani Military troops in the area. US / ISAF have overlooked the fact that by the time information was shared with Pakistani LO, both the Pakistani Posts had already been struck by US / ISAF fire making the whole argument irrelevant.

26.       Precious  lives  could  have  been  saved,  had  the  US  /  ISAF  chain  of command / staff been more responsive and alive to the situation. There was no urgency  whatsoever  in  a  situation  where  due  to  use  of  overwhelming  and disproportionate  force  by  US,  lives  were  being  lost  and  where  time  was  of extreme essence. This displays utter disregard for the  lives of the Pakistani soldiers.  In  the  words  of  the  Investigation  Report,  time  sensitive   senior Command override measures for border area incidents are lacking (Reference: Page 5, Para 3, Line 12).

Stage 3: Reaction  (Post Action Events)

27.       The intelligence picture depicted in the Investigation Report is erroneous and biased wherein it states Reports have indicated INS (insurgents) have been wearing PAKMIL uniforms in order to move freely across the border. The ABP (Afghan Border Police) report indiscriminate shooting incidents against civilians and their livestock in the Maya Valley from the border” (Reference: Page 8, Para
5, Lines 4 through 7). The investigating officer has accepted without verification, the  assertions  of  the  Afghan  Border  Police  especially  because  he  and  his Investigation Team, according to the Investigation Report, could not visit Village Maya  and  other  areas  close  to  the  site  of  the  incident.  The  US  /  ISAF Investigation Report states, “Security concerns did not  allow the investigating teams to safely travel to the villages on either side of the Afghanistan Pakistan border that were near the area of the incident” (Reference: Page 7, Footnote to Para  3.a., Lines 2 through 4). A few months back in October this year, the Afghan authorities at  the highest level had blamed Pakistan publicly for firing hundreds  of  rounds  /  rockets  and  killing  numerous  civilians  in  Kunar.  ISAF leadership  having  inquired  into  the  matte confirmed  to  Pakistan  Military leadership that Afghan assertions could not be substantiated and that these were


a result of misinformation originating from the Afghan Border. The allegation against Pakistan was later denied publicly by the Afghan President by agreeing to the ISAFs viewpoint that no artillery / rocket fire had originated from Pakistan. In  this  backdrop,  for  the  investigating  team  to  take  the  comments  of  some individuals located close to the international border on the Afghan side at face value and mention them in their report without thorough investigation brings into question the whole exercise.

28.       Moreover, reports of discovery of Pakistani Law Enforcement Agencies uniforms  from   Maya  Village  after  the  end  of  Operation  SAYAQA  is  an unconvincing attempt to cover  the US / ISAF attacks by giving a misleading impression that Pakistani soldiers on Volcano and Boulder posts may well have been mistaken by US / ISAF to be anyone else.


Summary of P a k is tan’s  Viewpoint

29.       Pakistan  does  not  agree  with  several  portions  and  findings  of  the

Investigation Report as these are not factually correct.

30.       Pakistan expresses its regret over the mandate and terms of reference given to the  Investigating Team which was not mandated to determine or affix responsibility  for  the  incident.  (Reference:  General  Mattis letter  to  Brigadier General Stephen Clark dated 28 November 2011 appointing him as Investigating Officer, Page 3, Paras 9 and 10).

31.       Pakistan has noted US / ISAF acceptance of its failures, which Pakistan believes  were  deep,  varied  and  systemic.  There  have  been  several  similar, though not as grave, US / ISAF failings in the past. Despite promises of thorough investigations, US / ISAF failed to hold anyone accountable after each of these incidents. (Details at Page 2, Para 5 of this Report).

32.       The fundamental cause of the incident of 26th  November 2011 was the failure of US / ISAF to share its near-border operation, with Pakistan at any level. It is highly regrettable that despite this major failing, the Investigation Report has tried to pin partial responsibility on Pakistan (Paraphrased by Pakistan Military - Reference: Page 4, Para 3 of US Investigation  Report). Establishing positive identificatioof  the  Pakistani  Posts  which  was  lacking and  which  has been acknowledged in the US / ISAF report, was the direct and clear responsibility of US  /  ISAF  who  were,  by  their  own  admission,  carrying  out  a  near-border operation.  Positive identification could very conveniently have been done by a simple Intelligence  Surveillance and Reconnaissance Aircraft sweep which the US Investigation Report itself has  also recommended, (Reference: Page 27, Para 43, Lines 7-8).

33.       US / ISAF violated all mutually agreed procedures with Pakistan for near- border operations put in place to avert such uncalled for actions. It is increasingly obvious to Pakistan  Military that the entire coordination mechanism has been reduced to an exercise in futility, is more for the purposes of optics and that it has


repeatedly been undermined. There were instructions given to US personnel, as mentioned in  the US / ISAF Investigation Report, wherein the information to Pakistan Military was to be  deliberately withheld. Had the disclosure been honest and as per the agreed procedures, the attacks could have been stopped at the earliest and precious lives saved. Even a cursory reading of Paragraph 38. b.  (1)  on  Page  24  of  US  Investigation  Report  would  confirm   Pakistans contention.  The  said  sub-paragraph  reads:  The  TF  (Task  Force)  BRONCO battle captain provided specific grid references to the ISAF LNO (ISAF Liaison Officer) at  NBCC (Nawa Border Coordination Centre) with the stipulation that these specific coordinates were not to be provided to the NBCCs PAKMIL LNO (Pakistan Military Liaison Officer) and  that only a general location was to be passed. The very purpose of sharing information  about fire originating from Pakistan  was  for  Pakistan  to  suppress  /  stop  it.  Without  giving  exact  map references (LAT / LONGs), how could this have been achieved?

34.       According to well established mutually agreed procedures, in case of fire originating from across the border, the responsibility to suppress / stop it rests on the side from where the  fire is originating. In the present instance, no such intimation was received from the US /  ISAF. Such an intimation would have demonstrated the bona fides of the US / ISAF stance. The only intimation that was  conveyed  to  the  Pakistan  Liaison  Officer  at  Nawa  Border  Coordination Centre was after both the posts had been struck by fire and even this late intimation was incorrect by as much as 14 kilometres. The US Investigation Report states,  “It was later discovered that a misconfigured electronic CPOF (Command Post of the  Future)  map overlay was used by the NBCC (Nawa Border Coordination Centre), this caused the NBCC to refer the NBCCs PAKMIL LNO (Pakistan Military Liaison Officer) to a “general location that was 14km to the north of the actual engagement area (Reference: Page 14, Para 14, Lines
13 through 15).

35.       In an effort to provide justification for US / ISAF actions, the Investigation

Report has gone to extreme lengths to construct the whole incident as an act of


“self  defence and  the  force  used  by  US  /  ISAF  /  NATO  as  legal  and proportionate. At no stage did the Pakistani Posts fire on, or in the direction of the Helicopter Landing Zone or  the route from Helicopter Landing Zone to Maya Village. The sketch of the incident site at  Figure 2 (Maya Village has been marked on the map as per the map references provided by ISAF Coordination Element Pakistan / ODRP) clearly belies the ISAF assertion about responding in self defence. The report accepts that there were no US / ISAF casualties, yet it still argues the self defence Rules of Engagement by stating that the fire on GFs (Ground Forces) was effective (Paraphrased by Pakistan Military Reference: Page  F-2,  Paras  and  7).  In  fact,  it  were  the  Pakistani  Posts  which  were defending against an unprovoked attack. Pakistan, therefore, rejects the findings of the US Investigation Report that: the catalyst for this tragedy ultimately was the initial and continuing engagement by PAKMIL (Pakistan  Military) forces on Coalition  Forces   who  in  turn  responded  accordingly  an appropriately” (Reference: Page 29, Para 53, Lines 2 through 4). The US Investigation Report in  fact ignores the sentiments and questions the intelligence of the Pakistani people by stating that The LOAC (Law of Armed Conflict) was respected and the ROE (Rules of  Engagement) were applied correctly and legally”  (Reference: Annex I, Page I-1, Para 8).

36.       The following facts and their sequence, strengthen the opinion that the said incident was deliberate at some level:-

a.         US / ISAF having carried out 1-2 operations in and around Maya Village prior to 26th  November incident in the months of October / November,  (Paraphrased by Pakistan Military - Reference: Page
15, Para 18, Lines 4-5 of US Investigation Report), having seen and closely  monitored Pakistans nine months long operation in Mohmand Agency leading to the creation of Volcano and Boulder Posts, the location of the  posts  atop a barren ridge as high as approximately  8000  feet  and  th US  /  ISAFs  cutting  edge surveillance / observation technology, all defy US / ISAF contention


that they were unaware about the location of these Pakistani Posts. (There have been incidents in the past where as small an activity, as  addition  of  ne weapons  on  existing  Pakistani  posts  by Pakistan Military, were immediately noticed by US / ISAF and their purpose discussed with Pakistan).

b.         The US aircraft / helicopters continued to target Pakistani Military personnel  deliberately for two hours. Even the US Investigation Report admits the attack spread over 90 minutes - far too long a time        for        an       “innocent”            engagement.           According             to    the            US Investigation  Report,    three       main   aeriafire           engagements              of Pakistani Posts by US / ISAF took place. Multiple fire engagements by US aerial platforms took place after information about US / ISAF aggression against the Pakistani Posts had been shared at multiple levels, by Pakistan Military, and after Pakistani Military was assured that the fire engagement was being stopped.

c.         Even if we assume that these posts were not known to US / ISAF, within minutes of initiation of unprovoked attack by US, US / ISAF had been informed at multiple levels by the Pakistani side, but they continued firing with impunity.

d.         All Pakistani soldiers were in uniform and could not be mistaken for anyone else.

e.         The failure in timely sharing of Concept of Operations even with concerned  US coordination staff at Nawa Border Coordination Centre and ISAF Coordination Element Pakistan (which is located in  US  Embassy  Islamabad   and  manned  exclusively  by  US personnel)              raises   serious              doubts         about  the                       incident                 being accidental.


f.          It is highly improbable that such a large number of mistakes (as acknowledged  in the US Investigation Report) could have been coincidental.

37.       Unfortunately the impartiality and transparency of the investigation was adversely  affected when senior US officials repeatedly stated that the incident was “not intentional, without waiting for completion of the Investigation.  Pakistan believes that this stance may well have influenced the findings of the report.

38.       Due to complicated chain of command, complex command and control structure and unimaginative / intricate Rules of Engagement (all acknowledged in US / ISAF Investigation  Report), the responsibility for failing to stop the attack rests  squarely on  US  /  ISAF. Pakistan  Army on  its  part  had, on  numerous occasions and at all levels, highlighted the potential problems associated with not having  all  the  forces  in  the  Afghan  theatre  under  a  unified  command.  The activities and operations of US Special Forces and Afghanistan Border Police are but two examples which have been raised consistently by the Pakistani side. The
incident of 19th  July 2011 in Angoor Adda Sector of South Waziristan Agency,

(details mentioned on Page 2, Para 5 of this Report) was also, we believe, a result of lack of unified military command in Afghanistan.

39.       Pakistan Military is dismayed to learn that despite being ten years into the war, one reason to which the incident of 26th November 2011 has been attributed is, imprecise  terminology between the RC-E JOC (Regional Command East Joint Operations Centre) and  SOTF-E JOC (Special Operations Task Force – East Joint Operations Centre) (Reference: Page 24, sub-para e, Line 1 of US Investigation Report). This is disturbingly indicative of fundamental flaws in the
US / ISAF / NATO procedures.

40.       US  /  ISAF / NATO  in knowingly  targeting  Pakistani Posts well inside Pakistan  were  in  clear  violation  of  the  ISAF  mandate  which  is  limited  to Afghanistan alone.


41.       The recommendation of the US / ISAF Investigating Report stating, “train and practice procedures for  cross-border and near-border operations including time-sensitive  procedures”   (Reference:  Page  5,  Para  4,  Lines  4-5  of  US Investigation  Report)  is  maleficent.  Investigating  an  incident  which  involves breach  of  Pakistans  territorial  integrity  an sovereignty  and  putting  in  a recommendation of how to do it better next time is potentially  troublesome for any future cooperation and border coordination.

Additional Details Required

42.       Following  additional  details  are  required,  which  may  be  provided  for completing our analysis / assessment:-

a.         The full and complete classified version of the US Investigation

Report be made available.

b.         Provision of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance picture of the  complete incident along with all aerial platform videos and record  of  radio  transmissions  and  communication  between  the crew(s) of the aerial platforms involved in the incident.
Concluding Remarks

43.       The US / ISAF Investigation Report into the 26th November 2011 incident, apart from being factually incorrect, also brings to fore the larger issue of lack of trust of US / ISAF  towards the Pakistani Military. Moreover, the unprovoked engagement of Pakistani Posts located inside Pakistan was a clear violation of US / ISAF mandate which is limited to Afghanistan alone.  Unfortunately, this was not the first incident of this kind as US / ISAF / NATO have been involved in at least four similar incidents in the past, after each of which, US / ISAF regretted the incident and resolved to prevent recurrence. Not only did the recurrence of incidents  continue  but  as  far  as  we  know,  no  one  was  ever  actually  held accountable.
44.       The US Investigation Report, is structured around the argument of self defence and proportional use of force, an argument which is contrary to facts


and therefore self serving. Sustained aggression which continued for as long as 90 minutes despite US / ISAF being informed about the incident at multiple levels by Pakistan Military within minutes of initiation of US / ISAF fire, belies the self defence and “proportional use of force” contention.
45.       Failure to share information about a near-border operation with Pakistan at any level was a major US / ISAF / NATO omission, as were several others, like the complicated chain of command, complex command and control structure and unimaginative / intricate Rules of Engagement as well as lack of unified military command in Afghanistan.

46.       There have clearly been several failures on the part of US / ISAF / NATO (as   acknowledged  in  the  US  Investigation  Report).  Trying  to  affix  partial responsibility of the  incident on Pakistan (Reference: Page 29, Para 53, Lines
3-4 of US Investigation Report) is, therefore, unjustified and unacceptable.
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