NATO forces in Afghanistan fire rockets at militants inside Pakistan

Other News Materials 22 August 2008 21:00 (UTC +04:00)

NATO forces coordinating with the Pakistan military fired artillery at militants who were preparing to attack a NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) base in eastern Afghanistan, ISAF said on Friday, dpa reported.

Pakistani military confirmed to NATO forces that the militants were preparing to fire rockets at a military base in Paktika province, which is close to the porous border, ISAF said in a statement.

ISAF forces "gained positive identification of the insurgents" and fired "multiple artillery rounds" into Pakistan on Thursday night, it said.

" Pakistan military officials called for two batteries of fire and informed ISAF forces that they would engage any insurgents attempting to flee," the statement said.

Pakistan military personnel confirmed that the insurgents were heavily armed, the statement said, adding, "Pakistani officers relayed that all rounds were on target, with no civilian casualties."

Afghan officials have repeatedly accused the Pakistani government of not doing enough to clamp down on militants, whom they claim have safe havens in tribal areas of Pakistan.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai once again called on international forces based in Afghanistan on Wednesday to focus their anti-terrorism operations against the bases of insurgents, where he believe they receive training and equipment.

Karzai's call for more attacks on Taliban's sanctuaries in the neighbouring country comes after an upsurge in militant attacks against the combined forces in areas along the border in recent weeks.

On Monday night, ten suicide bombers attacked a US base near the border with Pakistan, but were killed by Afghan commandos and US soldiers before they could penetrate the base. On Tuesday ten French soldiers were killed in a Taliban ambush east of Kabul.

ISAF said it could not confirm the number of insurgents killed in the attack on Thursday night, because "they were inside Pakistan," it added.