Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apologized Tuesday for a November attack by U.S. forces that left 24 Pakistani troops dead.
“I once again reiterated our deepest regrets for the tragic incident in Salala last November,” Clinton said in a statement about her call with Pakistani foreign minister Rabbani Khar.
“I offered our sincere condolences to the families of the Pakistani soldiers who lost their lives. Foreign Minister Khar and I acknowledged the mistakes that resulted in the loss of Pakistani military lives. We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military. We are committed to working closely with Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent this from ever happening again,” Clinton said.
The Salala incident involved NATO helicopters crossing into Pakistan from Afghanistan, and engaging Pakistani troops at two border crossings while conducting operations against Afghani Taliban forces. The NATO air forces claimed that they had come under fire and were only defending Afghan troops on the ground.
Until now, the administration has declined to apologize — citing an ongoing investigation. Clinton also announced Tuesday that an agreement had been reached with Pakistan over supply routes — a longstanding source of tension between Washington and Islamabad. Those overland supply routes have been closed ever since the attack.