US attack helicopters killed 14 Frontier Corps troops manning a border outpost along the Afghan border, according to Pakistani military officials.
The US helicopters struck an outpost in the Baizai area of the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of Mohmand, Pakistani officials said. The attack took place at the Salala check post, which is just over a mile on the Pakistani side of the border.
"NATO helicopters carried out an unprovoked and indiscriminate firing on a Pakistani check post in Mohmand agency, casualties have been reported and details are awaited," Pakistani military spokesman told Reuters. Up to 14 Pakistan troops are said to have been killed and seven more have been wounded.
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said it was aware of reports of US helicopters engaging Pakistani force and that it was investigating.
The reported attack took place just across the border from Afghanistan's eastern province of Kunar, a known stronghold of the Taliban, al Qaeda, and allied terror groups. Afghan troops are currently conducting an operation in neighboring Nuristan province, another Taliban and al Qaeda bastion. US forces have mostly withdrawn from Kunar and Nuristan, and are relying on airstrikes and sweeps to keep the Taliban at bay.
The reason for the US attack in Mohmand is unclear. The border is unmarked and the terrain is rugged. Pakistan and Afghanistan also dispute the international border, which is known as the Durrand Line.
The US has also conducted several cross-border attacks while in "hot pursuit" of Taliban forces. ISAF has also maintained that it has the right to pursue retreating Taliban forces who "after following the proper rules of engagement under inherent right of self defense." [See LWJ report, Pakistan closes NATO supply route after latest US cross-border attack]
The US has pursued Taliban fighters across the border multiple times in the past. Two of the most high-profile incidents occurred in 2008, and three others took place in 2010. The first took place in June 2008, when US troops pursued a Taliban force from Kunar into Mohmand, and killed 11 fighters. The Pakistani government claimed that the US killed Frontier Corps troops, but the US released video of the incident showing the Taliban being targeted as they fled from Kunar into Mohmand. Pakistan's paramilitary Frontier Corps is known to support the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Updated from 14 to 25 deaths:
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