NATO: Pakistan cooperates in new border incident

Pakistani protesters rally to condemn a NATO airstrike on Pakistani troops, in Lahore, Pakistan, Sunday, Nov 27, 2011. Pakistan on Saturday accused NATO helicopters and fighter jets of firing on two army checkpoints in the country's northwest and killing 24 soldiers. Islamabad retaliated by closing the border crossings used by the international coalition to supply its troops in neighboring Afghanistan. Placard on left reads "do not use Pakistan army as a fuel of American war."
AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary

KABUL, Afghanistan - Pakistan resumed some cooperation with U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan following NATO strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers by working with the coalition to prevent another cross-border incident from escalating, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Pakistan is still outraged by the soldiers' deaths and has retaliated by closing its Afghan border crossings to NATO supplies, demanding the U.S. vacate an air base used by American drones and boycotting an international conference aimed at stabilizing Afghanistan.

But NATO said Islamabad communicated with the alliance to prevent an exchange of artillery fire late Tuesday from turning into another international incident.

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German Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson, a NATO spokesman in Kabul, expressed hope that Pakistan's cooperation in resolving the incident in eastern Afghanistan's Paktia province signaled the two sides could recover from the recent tragedy. He did not provide more details about targets or who was doing the shooting but said no damage or injuries were reported.

"We are continuing operations and it is of great importance that the incidents of Saturday, as tragic as they were, do not disrupt our capability to operate in the border area and cooperate with the Pakistani side," said Jacobson.

The Pakistani military did not immediately respond to request for comment on the latest incident.

Pakistani and American officials have offered different accounts of how NATO aircraft attacked two Pakistan army posts before dawn Saturday, killing 24 soldiers. But it seems clear that a breakdown in communication contributed to the tragedy.

CBS News consultant Jere Van Dyke reports that the border is not as ill-defined as the U.S. claimed following the incident. The U.S. soldiers had to know exactly where they were. All Afghans and Pakistanis know, within, say, a radius of 50 yards where the border lies.

As for Pakistani claims that the helicopter attack was an attack on their sovereign territory, for them it probably was, but for the Afghans, no. The border, called the Durand Line, is a colonial border drawn by and forced on the Afghans by the British. Not one Afghan, and not one Afghan legislature, has ever accepted it.

Pakistan tries, on occasion, to move the border forward. I know of once instance, on the border of Khost, Afghanistan and Kurram Agency, Pakistan, where Afghan tribes in 2007, made the Pakistanis dismantle their base and move it back a few hundred yards. They obliged because they want to win the tribes over.

In the Mohmand region, where the attack took place, Pakistani agents press Afghans who live along and cross the border, to accept Pakistani ID cards, another way to push the border farther west.