ISAF denies cross-border operation in Pakistan

September 4th, 2008 - 8:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Kabul, Sep 4 (Xinhua) The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan Thursday dismissed as “completely false” media reports that it entered Pakistani territory in hot pursuit of militants and conducted operations against them.”Recent reports in the media that the force conducted operations in Pakistan are completely false and ISAF do not operate in Pakistan,” it said in a statement.

“ISAF have had a number of inquiries about its mission and area of operations, particularly regarding operations near or across the border with Pakistan,” the statement said.

The international force sometimes may return fire near the Afghan-Pakistan border but only under approved rules of engagement of self defence, the statement said.

“Such incidents are coordinated and reported to Pakistan authorities,” it said, adding “at no time have ISAF been authorized to enter or land in Pakistan.”

The statement emphasised that ISAF’s mission is to “assist Afghanistan in providing a secure and stable environment to help Afghans rebuild their country”.

Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani said Wednesday that foreign troops from across the Afghan border had raided a Pakistani village, killing over 20 people.

Ghani described the incident as “a direct assault” on Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Afghanistan has a long border with neighbouring Pakistan’s tribal areas that are known to be safe havens for Taliban and Al Qaeda militants.

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