Tuesday, February 7, 2012
US State Department considers formal apology for the Pakistan soldiers’ deaths
WASHINGTON — A senior U.S. military commander will visit Pakistan this month in what could be an important step in healing the rift between the two nations, officials said Tuesday.
Gen. James Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command, will meet with Pakistani Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani to talk about the U.S. investigation into airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in a Nov. 26 exchange of fire at the border with Afghanistan.
Mattis would be the first high-ranking official to visit since the strikes that sent relations between Washington and Islamabad to a new low and prompted Pakistan to close its border to NATO war supplies headed for Afghanistan, according to two U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the sensitive matter publicly. News of the planned visit came as Pakistan’s defense minister said Tuesday the country should reopen its Afghan border crossings to NATO troop supplies after negotiating a better deal with the coalition.
Without providing details, Pakistan Defense Minister Ahmad Mukhtar told the private Geo TV that the government should negotiate new “terms and conditions” with NATO, then reopen the border. More