MONS, Belgium — A fact-finding investigation into the circumstances surrounding the friendly forces engagement between coalition and Pakistan military forces, on 25-26 November 2011 has been completed. The NATO chain of command extends their sincerest, heartfelt condolences to the families of those Pakistani Security Force members who were killed or injured in this incident.
The combined international and Afghan force was initially fired upon by unidentified forces, then believed not to be Pakistani military, and legitimately responded in self-defence. The investigation has ascertained that a series of mistakes were made on both sides in failing to properly co-ordinate their locations and actions, both before the operation and during the resulting engagement.
The combined force did not knowingly fire at the Pakistani forces. The investigation has substantiated that close air support was employed in self-defence in response to intense, heavy machine gun and mortar fire initiated by what turned out to be Pakistan forces near the border in the vicinity of Salala.
A thorough review of the operational plan and communications during the incident substantiate the conclusion that the Pakistani forces were not knowingly targeted and the action of our forces was legitimate within the Laws of Armed Conflict and within their Rules of Engagement.
Immediate steps have been taken to reduce the risk of similar incidents in the future. ISAF is also reviewing the manning, training, and certification of the Border Coordination Centres to assist in this effort.
We continuously work to improve liaison with the Pakistani forces and we are determined to work harder to ensure these incidents do not occur.