“Fog of (NATO) War”

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Pakistani students in Karachi protest the November 26 U.S. strike

Last week, the Pentagon blamed both the U.S. military and Pakistan for the Nov. 26 Afghan-Pakistan frontier snafu that killed 24 Pakistani troops. On Monday, U.S. Central Command released a written report that added NATO to the list of those culpable for the disaster.

NATO and U.S. rules of engagement sometimes conflicted and “lacked clarity and precision, and were not followed.” The reported highlighted the lack of a circuit-breaker that could quickly be flipped by NATO to shut down such a firefight. The report urged a series of changes to improve coordination between U.S. and NATO forces in such “near-border operations.”

But the bottom line didn’t change: “The catalyst for the engagement was the opening of fire by PAKMIL forces,” it concluded anew. “Continued fire from Pakistani Forces exacerbated the situation.”