* Pakistan says Afghan-based militants launched raid into
* U.S., Pakistan trying to repair strained ties
* NATO commander likely to visit Pakistan on June 27
(Adds NATO commander visit to Pakistan)
By Jibran Ahmad
PESHAWAR, Pakistan, June 25 Pakistan protested
to NATO and the Afghan military on Monday, accusing them of
failing to act against militant safe havens in Afghanistan after
a cross-border attack killed 13 Pakistani troops, a military
The move is likely to intensify tension between Islamabad
and Washington, just when they are trying to repair a rift
caused by events such as a cross-border NATO air attack last
November which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
In Sunday's raid, more than 100 militants based in
Afghanistan's Kunar province entered Pakistan and attacked a
military patrol, the military official said.
Fourteen militants and six soldiers were killed in the
clash, seven soldiers were beheaded by militants afterwards and
four soldiers are still missing, the official said.
The Foreign Ministry said the Afghan deputy head of mission
in Islamabad was summoned and presented with a "strong protest".
The Malakand faction of the Pakistan Taliban claimed
responsibility and threatened more attacks.
"Our fight will continue until the establishment of sharia
law in Pakistan ... We will fight whoever tries to stand in our
way," Sirajuddin Ahmad, the faction's spokesman, told Reuters.
Ahmad said the group had killed 17 Pakistani soldiers in
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
in Afghanistan said it was aware of the report, but had no
The commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, U.S. General
John Allen, is likely to visit Pakistan on June 27, the Pakistan
military said in a statement on Monday, a trip that could focus
on improving tense relations between the two sides.
"The interaction will focus on reviewing the progress made
in (the) implementation of recently evolved border coordination
measures," the military said.
AFGHANS SAY BASE IN PAKISTAN
Fazlullah Wahidi, governor of Kumar province, said the
militants were based in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. "We don't
have any information about militants crossing the border from
Afghanistan to attack troops in Pakistan," he told Reuters.
The Malakand, or Swat, Taliban are led by Maulvi Fazlullah,
who was the Pakistan Taliban leader in the Swat Valley, about
100 miles (160 km) northwest of Islamabad, before a 2009 army
offensive forced him to flee.
Also known as FM Mullah for his fiery radio broadcasts, he
regrouped in Afghanistan and established strongholds there,
according to the Pakistan military.
He resurfaced as a threat last year, when his fighters
carried out cross-border raids that killed around 100 members of
the Pakistani security forces.
Pakistan wants Afghan and NATO forces to act against
Afghan-based militants who cross the border to attack Pakistani
forces and civilians - while the United States calls on Pakistan
to stop providing safe havens for militants fighting NATO forces
backing Afghanistan's government against the Taliban.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said earlier this month
that Washington's patience was running out, but tempered those
remarks in an interview with Reuters last week when he said both
sides had to work at improving relations.
Islamabad rejects U.S. suggestions that it is allowing
insurgents to operate in Pakistan, saying it will not allow its
territory to be used against any country.
(Additional reporting by Sheree Sardar, and Hamid Shalizi in
KABUL; Writing by Qasim Nauman; Editing by Tim Pearce)