‘No hot pursuit agreement with coalition forces’

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ISLAMABAD:
Pakistan has no agreement with US-led coalition forces to conduct “hot pursuit” operations across the border inside Pakistani territory, a senior Pakistani security official told Pakistan Today on Sunday.
“We believe that the rules of engagement with coalition forces are well defined and within that, the right to conduct operations against the militants inside its territory is solely the responsibility of the respective armed forces,” he said.
“There is no question of any agreement or understanding with the coalition forces whereby they are allowed to conduct operations on our side of the border,” he said, wishing not to be named.
“And that’s why Pakistan strongly protested against ISAF/NATO on the two incidents of aerial engagements by NATO choppers on September 27 and 30 from the Afghan side into Pakistani territory,” he said.
“These incidents are a clear violation and breach of the UN mandate under which ISAF operates. The said mandate terminates at the Afghan border. There are no agreed hot pursuit rules. Any impression to the contrary is not factually correct. Such violations are unacceptable,” the official said.
He said that after the NATO strikes in Kurram agency, Pakistan Army lodged a strong protested with NATO and US authorities and asked for an investigation and explanation of the incident. “Public sentiment, as well as security situation arising due to the incident was also conveyed to them,” he said.
“The joint inquiry committee consisting of representatives from both ISAF and Pakistani security forces was immediately formed to probe the incident. The joint investigation team worked for three consecutive days and concluded that the two coalition helicopters passed into Pakistani airspace several times,” he revealed.
Subsequently, he said, the helicopters fired at the building later identified as a Pakistan border post in response to shots fired from the post.
“The assessment team considered it most probable that they had fired in an attempt to warn the helicopters of their presence. Unfortunately, following the engagement, it was discovered that the dead and wounded were members of the Pakistan Frontier Scouts,” he said.
He said the joint investigation team maintained that “we believe that Pakistani border guards were simply firing warning shots after hearing the nearby engagement and hearing the helicopters flying overhead”.