US account of airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistanis

AP News
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Posted: Dec 22, 2011 5:04 PM
US account of airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistanis

The U.S. account of what happened November 25-26, when U.S. airstrikes killed two dozen Pakistani troops in a cross-border skirmish riddled with mistakes. The U.S. has accepted partial blame for the incident, but says Pakistani troops fired first and the U.S. forces were acting in self-defense.

10:06 p.m.: U.S. troops land on the ground near Nawa village near the Pakistan border and begin hiking east, up through the rugged terrain.

11:09 p.m.: U.S. forces begin taking heavy machine-gun fire directly over their heads. Shortly afterward, mortar fire begins, landing within 50 meters of the helicopter landing zone.

The ground commander requests a show of force by aircraft in the area.

An F-15 fighter jet and an AC-130 gunship streak across the sky, firing flares to signal U.S./NATO presence.

Machine-gun and mortar fire continues.

U.S. forces are told that no Pakistani troops are in the area.

U.S. ground commander directs airstrikes by the AC-130 gunship, which lasts six minutes.

11:44 p.m.: AC-130 and Apache helicopters strike again because the firing has continued

Frantic telephone calls from Pakistanis to their liaison officers near the border say their forces are under fire.

U.S. forces check with border coordination center, where mix-up over the location and faulty maps further confuse the matter.

U.S. again told no Pakistani troops are in the area _ not realizing they were using inaccurate locations.

12:40 a.m.: U.S. troops fire on a second area, further to the north, in response to heavy machine-gun fire.

1 a.m.: Confirmation comes that Pakistani troops are in the area. U.S. assault stops.