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Pakistan bans NATO supply convoys after reports of deaths
September 30, 2010|
(CNN) -- Pakistan has banned NATO supply convoys from entering Afghanistan after officials accused cross-border NATO fire of killing three of its soldiers, according to a military official from the NATO-led command in Afghanistan.
The troops were killed when three NATO helicopters crossed from Afghanistan into Pakistan early Thursday and attacked a military outpost, Pakistani security officials said. Three troops were wounded as well, the officials said.
"It does appear that coalition aircraft, responding to an event in the border area, fired upon Pakistan border forces, killing three," the ISAF military official said.
Supply convoys are all-important for the Afghan war effort, and ISAF officials were trying to persuade Pakistan to lift the ban. Coalition forces rely heavily on convoys from Pakistan to bring in supplies and gear.
Three Pakistani security officials said the helicopters attacked the Mandato Kandaho outpost, which is five kilometers inside Pakistani territory. The area targeted lies in the Kurram Agency of the Pakistani tribal region. It is one of the seven districts in Pakistan's tribal region.
The dead Pakistani soldiers are members of the Frontier Corps, according to the officials.
Lt. Col. John Dorrian, an ISAF spokesman, earlier said troops observed what it thought a group of insurgents trying to fire mortars at a coalition base on the Afghanistan side of the border.
The coalition force then conducted an airstrike in the area and members of that team said they did not cross the border into Pakistan, Dorrian said.
Pakistani officials later informed the coalition force that members of their border force had been struck by coalition fire.
A senior administration official in the tribal region's Khyber Agency told CNN Thursday that Pakistan had temporally stopped NATO supplies from entering Afghanistan in the area of Takhta Baig, which is located about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from the border with Afghanistan.
The official asked to not be named because he was not authorized to talk to the media.