Manglende tillit og utilstrekkelig informasjonsutveksling lå bak hendelsen 25. november, der 26 pakistanske soldater ble drept av amerikanske helikoptre og artilleri.
Det konstaterte en offisiell amerikansk rapport som ble kjent torsdag.
Men det var pakistanerne som begynte ved å skyte på en afghansk-amerikansk patrulje som var på besøk i en afghansk landsby på den afghanske siden av grensen, konkluderer rapporten.
Denne opplysningen vil trolig provosere Pakistan enda mer.
Beskytningen var så presis at amerikanerne tror pakistanerne brukte nattsynkikkerter.
But two crucial findings — that the Pakistanis fired first at a joint Afghan-American patrol and that they kept firing even after the Americans tried to warn them that they were shooting at allied troops — were likely to further anger Pakistan and plunge the already tattered relationship between the United States and Pakistan to new depths.
In an important detail that was not disclosed at the Pentagon briefing but is likely to further aggravate relations with Islamabad, an American officer in Afghanistan said the joint patrol of 120 Afghan and American Special Operations soldiers, operating along the often poorly demarcated frontier between Afghanistan and Pakistan, had come under Pakistani fire as it was entering an Afghan village, endangering civilians as well as the soldiers. The American officer said he believed that the Pakistanis had used night-vision technology because their shooting was unusually accurate, even though there were no casualties.
Pakistanerne benekter kategorisk at de skjøt først, de hevder tvert imot at amerikanerne med overlegg beskjøt de pakistanske soldatene og fortsatte å skyte selv etter at de ble gjort oppmerksom på at de skjøt mot regjeringssoldater.
Interessant nok har USA ikke bedt om unnskyldning, men kun kommet med en beklagelse. USA har imidlertid sagt seg villig til å betale erstatning til de etterlatte, men Pakistan sier de ikke vil ha blodpenger.
Det var brigadegeneral i luftvåpenet, Stephen A. Clarke, som la frem rapporten. Hendelsesforløpet er instruktivt:
According to a chronology by General Clark and other American military officials, the patrol planned to raid the village of Maya, about one mile inside Afghanistan’s Kunar Province and near the Pakistani tribal area of Mohmand. Hiking up steep “goat trails” on a moonless night, the patrol came under heavy machine-gun fire from the ridge above at 11:09 p.m. on Nov. 25.
American officials said the first allied mistake was that NATO had not informed Pakistan about the patrol, so the Pakistani soldiers would not have known to expect allied forces nearby. NATO and Pakistani forces are supposed to inform each other about operations on the border precisely to avoid this kind of mistake.
After the allied ground force came under fire, the Americans tried to let the Pakistanis know that they were shooting at Americans. There was no direct verbal communication, but an AC-130 gunship fired flares and an F-15E fighter jet made a deafening, 600-mile-per-hour low-level pass in an effort to signal who they were.
Whether or not that message was understood was unclear, but the Pakistanis kept shooting.
As the Pakistanis continued to shoot, the AC-130 gunship opened fire for six minutes starting at 11:24 p.m. That was the result of a second error. That strike was set in motion when ground commanders believed they had been told no Pakistani troops were in the area. In fact, NATO was still checking.
From 11:44 p.m. until midnight, the AC-130 and Apache helicopter gunships resumed firing on “rudimentary bunkers,” the report said.
Pakistanerne begynner mao å skyte amerikanerne som befinner seg inne i Afghanistan, og når de selv blir beskutt, protesterer de.
Det er her mistilliten mellom partene kommer inn. Amerikanerne oppgir ikke nøyaktige koordinater til Pakistan, men har lagt inn en feilmargin. De har opplevd litt for mange ganger at deres soldater er blitt beskutt fra Pakistan.
I dette tilfellet fikk denne feilmarginen skjebnesvangre følger.
About the same time, Pakistani officials called NATO to say their outposts were under attack. The NATO liaison then gave the Pakistani Army only a general location of the airstrike targets, and a wrong one at that because he had incorrectly configured his digital map.
“This goes back to the opening part of an overarching lack of trust between the two sides as far as giving out specifics, but it’s also a very specific failure that occurred now that we have a firefight on our hands,” General Clark said.
Amerikanerne sier pakistanerne opprettet en ny grensepost for tre måneder siden uten å opplyse om den.
The Pakistanis made mistakes, too, he said. Pakistan never told NATO that it had established the border posts, which had been up for about three months. Pakistan has said it did tell NATO. Each side is supposed to inform the other when setting up new border positions.
Som om ikke det var nok: Pakistanerne åpnet ild mot amerikanerne fra et nytt punkt inne i Pakistan.
A third engagement took place starting at 12:40 a.m., when a heavy machine gun began firing from the Pakistani side “a little further north” of the first Pakistani shooting. About 1 a.m., American officials finally confirmed the Pakistan presence at the posts, and firing ceased.
Man må også gå ut fra at det er informasjon som ikke er sluppet ut i denne følsomme saken. Kan pakistanerne ha vært ute etter å hindre amerikanerne å avsløre det som befant seg i landsbyen?
The joint patrol resumed its mission in the village, the American officer said, and seized one of the largest caches of weapons in Kunar Province this year, along with a bomb-making factory.
Forholdet mellom USA og Pakistan er nå så dårlig at det er vanskelig å se hvordan det kan repareres.