[JURIST] Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs [official website] on Monday lodged a protest [press release] with NATO [official website] and its International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) [official website] regarding air strikes that crossed into Pakistani territory. The complaint stems from an incident last week in which ISAF helicopters engaged militants following an attack on an Afghan security base in the Khost province. During the encounter, ISAF personnel drew fire from the Pakistani side of the border and pursued, killing upwards of 30 insurgents. ISAF cited [press release] the “right of self defense” as justification for crossing into Pakistani airspace. Pakistan characterized the incident as an infringement on its sovereignty, arguing that the ISAF mandate [materials] “terminates/finishes” at the Afghan border and does not provide for any incursions into Pakistan. The country also noted that it will begin to consider potential response avenues unless remedial actions are immediately taken to prevent future incidents.
The actions of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan have been questioned previously. In December, Afghan president Hamid Karzai [official website; JURIST news archive] appointed a delegation [JURIST report] to investigate ten civilian deaths thought to have occurred during a raid by international forces, possibly including NATO personnel, in Kunar province. The Afghan parliament demanded in May that restrictions be placed [JURIST report] on foreign-led airstrikes following an attack that resulted in the death of 140 civilians.