ISAF had right to defend itself: Nato

Nato-led ISAF forces involved in air strikes in Pakistan near the Afghan border last week had the authority to defend themselves, a Nato official said Monday.

Pakistan earlier on Monday lodged a strong protest with Nato over air strikes by the alliance’s helicopters on its territory near the Afghan border.

“ISAF forces must and will retain the authority, within their mandate, to defend themselves in carrying out their mission,” a Nato official told AFP in response.

The attack by the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) helicopters on Friday left 30 “insurgents” dead, an ISAF statement issued in Kabul on Sunday said.

Pakistan said the helicopters intruded into its territory twice from the eastern Afghan province of Khost as they chased the militants.

“These incidents are a clear violation and breach of the UN mandate under which ISAF operates,” foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit said in a statement.