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Update: AfPak Attack

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Family and friends carry the coffin of a Pakistani soldier killed in the U.S. air raid, in his burial service in Bhakkar district on Sunday / Photo by MOHAMMAD KASHIF/AFP/Getty Images

Saturday’s strike on two Pakistani military outposts by U.S. airpower near the village of Salala isn’t the first time such an attack has been carried out in response to fire from such Pakistani forts into nearby Afghanistan.

This from Pajhwok Afghan News in June:

Afghan officials said the [NATO helicopter] attack in Mohmand was carried out in retaliation for missiles fired from Pakistan’s Mohmand Agency on residents’ houses in Shunkrai area of the Sarkani district in eastern Kunar province. The Kunar governor Syed Fazlullah Wahidi told Pajhwok Afghan News for the past four days, the Dangam, Shigal and Sarkani districts of Kunar province have suffered casualties and losses from similar cross-border missile attacks. One such incident three days earlier had killed four other children in the Shigal district, which also borders Pakistan, he said.

In retaliation for the June attacks allegedly from Pakistan, NATO forces launched a helicopter raid that allegedly destroyed a Pakistani military outpost. No casualties were reported.

Matt Dupee details the tense border in The Long War Journal:

The Salala security posts are located in the Taliban-controlled Baizai area of Mohmand, a well-known hotbed of militant activity that has significantly impacted security on both sides of the border. Since March, numerous Taliban swarm attacks have ravaged Pakistani outposts in the region, prompting violent reactions from Pakistani forces who frequently shell suspected militant positions located in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar and Nuristan provinces. Pakistani forces reportedly killed 65 Taliban fighters in the Baizai area in June alone. On Sept. 1, however, the Pakistani military claimed that a massive security operation had secured 80-85 percent of Mohmand and that 72 soldiers, including three officers, had been killed in the offensive against militants in the tribal agency.

U.S. officials remain fogged in about precisely what happened in Saturday’s strike, which killed at least 24 Pakistani troops. But they believe the strike was in response to some type of military action taken near, if not from, the Pakistani outposts. “It may have been mistaken,” one Pentagon official says, “but it was not unprovoked.”

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