Clash Between NATO and Pakistani Troops Defused

KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 30 — A cross-border incident involving NATO and Pakistani forces was quickly defused early on Wednesday with no loss of life, according to Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson, the spokesman for the American-led international coalition here.

Few details of the incident were immediately available but it apparently involved heavy artillery fire across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in Afghanistan’s Paktika province.

The firing broke out at a time of Pakistani anger over the killing of 24 of its soldiers in a United States air strike on Saturday. Pakistan closed its border to NATO supply convoys and pulled out of an international conference on Afghanistan next week in Bonn in protest at the killings.

Separately, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed regret at Pakistan’s decision to stay away from the Bonn conference.

“Frankly, it is regrettable that Pakistan has decided not to attend the conference in Bonn, because this conference has been long in the planning,” Mrs. Clinton said in Busan, South Korea before flying to Myanmar on Wednesday.

“Pakistan, like the United States, has a profound interest in a secure, stable, increasingly democratic Afghanistan. Our gathering in Bonn this coming Monday is intended to further that goal.”

In the latest border incident, General Jacobson said it was reassuring that normal channels of cooperation and communication had been opened to resolve the issue.

“We haven’t got the details yet but the most important thing is the normal methods of cooperation worked and there were no casualties, no damage despite heavy firing,” he said.

Steven Lee Myers contributed reporting from Nay Pyi Daw, Myanmar.

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