Did Taliban trick U.S.-NATO forces into attacking Afghan Army post?
The U.S.-NATO attacks over the weekend that killed 24 Pakistani troops may have been the result of a calculated maneuver by the Taliban to lure coalition forces into mistakenly engaging in friendly fire, the Associated Press reports.
According to preliminary U.S. military reports on the incident as described to the AP by American officials, a U.S.-Afghan patrol was attacked by Taliban forces Saturday morning. The strike led to the patrol chasing the enemy in a poorly marked border area, and a Pakistani border post was mistaken for a militant camp, after which NATO forces were ordered to open fire.
This possible version of events is also being reported by the ddp (Deutsche Depeschen Agentur) and has been picked up by German language newspapers, as well. According to sources, the joint US-Afghan patrol is said to have checked with the Afghan army whether the encampment was an army post prior to calling for an airstrike. The Afghan military reportedly responded that it was not. This account, if correct, raises the possibility that if not simply erring in denying the existence of the base, the Afghan military knowingly allowed the strike on its own men in order to create a crisis with the US. If this were true - and it is a remote possibility, but a possibility nonetheless, that would imply that some level of the Afghan military command are complicit in Taliban activities.
The final report will itself be only the tip of the iceberg. Events surrounding the elimination of UBL were already indicative that the Afghan intelligence service (ISI) are not entirely trustworthy; the same may be true of the military.