Pakistan officials were unaware they had forces in the area and gave the OK for US airstrikes last week that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, according to the American account of the worst friendly fire killing in the 10-year Afghanistan war, reports the Wall Street Journal. US forces in Afghanistan were pursuing Taliban militants when they came under fire; they called in airstrikes, thinking the attack was being launched by the Taliban when in fact it was the Pakistani military. But when US officials checked with their Pakistani counterparts at a border-control center, the representatives said they had no forces in the area described by the US commandos.
Pakistan has not commented yet on the US account of the killings, but has repeatedly denied that its forces fired on any American soldiers. US officials cautioned that the final report is not due until Dec. 23, and this preliminary account was mostly based on interviews with the US forces involved. Regardless, they said there was blame enough for both sides. "There were lots of mistakes made," said a US official. "There was not good situational awareness to who was where and who was doing what."