No charges for US soldiers in deadly Pakistan airstrike
The US military has decided not to punish any of its soldiers in a NATO airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani troops in November and frayed an already uneasy US-Pakistan alliance in the fight on terrorism, a newspaper reported late Saturday.
The decision was taken after a second US investigation into the incident on the Pakistan-Afghan border, which found the US soldiers fired in self-defence and blamed the incident on mistakes caused by battlefield confusion, The New York Times reported, citing three unnamed senior US military officials, dpa reported.
"We found nothing criminally negligent on the part of any individual in our investigations of the incident," one of the officials, who was involved in the process, was quoted as saying.
The findings of the second US inquiry were likely to anger Pakistan like those of the first did.
The initial review found that both US and Pakistani troops were to blame for the deadly attack and said distrust and miscommunication between the US and Pakistani militaries contributed to the incident.
It found the Pakistanis fired first, the two Pakistani border posts involved in the attack were not on NATO maps and the Pakistanis continued to fire after the US side warned them they weren't firing on militants.
Pakistan placed the blame on the United States, saying it fired first, and rejected the inquiry's findings.
It suspended all cooperation with NATO and Afghan forces, blocked supplies for NATO troops from travelling through its territory and asked the US to vacate an airfield in south-western Pakistan that had reportedly been used to carry out drone attacks against militants in Pakistan's lawless tribal region along the Afghan border.
Pakistan's parliament is to meet Monday about future ties with the US and the stalled shipments to NATO troops in Afghanistan. Parliament is considering legislation demanding an end to US drone attacks, an apology for November's border attack and a new framework for carrying supplies to Afghanistan.