KABUL — The mission that resulted in the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers on Saturday began when U.S. Special Operations troops and Afghan army commandos launched a nighttime raid against suspected Taliban insurgents along the border in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar province, according to Afghan security officials.
After the coalition unit came under fire from the Pakistani side of the border, the troops responded by calling in an airstrike, which resulted in the Pakistani casualties, the officials said. “They did come under fire from across the border first, before reacting,” said a senior Afghan official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive issue.
That account of the mission is disputed by Pakistani authorities, who say the U.S. launched an unprovoked attack on two of their border posts, a prolonged assault that continued for nearly two hours including after Pakistani officials asked coalition forces to stop. U.S. military spokesmen would not discuss the issue and said they are waiting for the results of an investigation into the incident before drawing any conclusions.