ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani officials say the country will boycott an upcoming meeting in Germany on the future of Afghanistan to protest a deadly attack by U.S.-led forces on its troops.
The officials say the decision was taken during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday in the city of Lahore.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to the media ahead of an official announcement.
The decision reflects Pakistan's anger over the incident on Saturday that killed 24 soldiers along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan was considering Tuesday whether to scale up its protests over a NATO attack that killed 24 of its soldiers and outraged the country by boycotting an upcoming meeting in Germany on the future of Afghanistan.
U.S. and Afghan officials have urged Pakistan to attend the Bonn meeting, which will bring together Western and regional leaders to forge a strategy to stabilize Afghanistan and smooth the planned American withdrawal from the country in 2014.
The Pakistani Cabinet was meeting Tuesday in the city of Lahore to discuss participation at the conference and other developments following Saturday's raid, said a government official speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
There have been conflicting versions of what led to the attack by NATO aircraft on two Pakistani border posts on the Afghan border — though most accounts say it was likely a case of friendly fire, launched after a joint Afghan and U.S. special forces team received fire from the Pakistan side of the border.
NATO and the U.S. have pledged to investigate the incident, and expressed regret at the loss of Pakistani lives.
The incident pushed already deeply troubled ties between Pakistan and the United States closer to breakdown after a year that has seen a succession of crises. At the heart of tensions are allegations that Pakistan is supporting militants in Afghanistan in the hope of ensuring a friendly regime there when America withdraws.
While expectations for the Bonn conference were not great, Pakistan is as a key regional player and its nonattendance would be a blow.
"We expect the government of Pakistan as our long-term neighbor and friend to attend," said Ashraf Ghani, who is leading efforts for Afghan security forces to take over from foreign troops. "There are 100 countries and international organizations that are attending this conference.
Hours after the raid, Pakistan closed its western border to trucks delivering supplies to NATO troops in Afghanistan, demanded that the U.S. abandon an air base inside Pakistan used to operate drones that attack militants in the northwest, and said it will review its cooperation with the U.S. and NATO.
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