11 Pakistani soldiers and 8 Taliban militants killed in a NATO raid inside Pakistan; Karzai vows to pursue Taliban inside Pakistan in ‘self-defence’; Over $20 billion promised at Paris aid conference; Taliban free over 1,000 prisoners in Kandahar
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  • In an aerial attack mounted by 3 NATO aircraft 200 metres inside Pakistani territory in the Mohmand tribal area bordering Afghanistan on June 11, over 20 people, including 11 Pakistani soldiers of the Frontier Corps and 8 Taliban militants were killed. While reports noted that the coalition forces had responded to firing from the Pakistani side of the border, Islamabad lodged a strong protest against the ISAF action, terming it 'unprovoked and senseless1.' The Pentagon on its part called the action ‘a legitimate act of self-defence2.’ However, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, terming Pakistan “an incredibly important partner” in the war on terror, promised an inquiry into the incident with Pakistani participation in it. Speaking to reporters after a meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in Brussels, a couple of days after the incident, Gates also stated that Pakistan's new government needed to be given more time to deal with the situation along the Pak-Afghan border3.

    Afghan President Karzai meanwhile charged that his country was a victim of terrorism emanating from Pakistan and vowed to fight on Pakistani soil in 'self-defence.' Noting the presence of 3 Taliban leaders inside Pakistan - Baitullah Mehsud, Mullah Fazilullah, and Mullah Omar, Karzai asserted that Afghanistan would “defeat them and … avenge all that they have done in Afghanistan for the past so many years4.”

    President Karzai also put forward a five-year plan for economic and infrastructural reconstruction of the country requiring $50 billion at the Paris donor conference held on June 125. Over $20 billion were pledged at the conference, attended by over 80 countries and international organizations. While the US promised over $10 billion of aid to the country, the UAE promised $250 million and France $166 million over a period of three years6. Britain, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank each promised over $1 billion spread over a period of 5 years7.

    In other developments, Taliban militants stormed the main prison in Kandahar on June 13 and freed over 1,200 prisoners, including 350 Taliban members.