Nato helicopters from Afghanistan have intruded into north-west Pakistan and attacked a military checkpoint near the border, killing as many as 25 Pakistani troops, intelligence officials in the country have said.
Sources in the region said up to 14 other soldiers had been wounded in the attack on the Salala checkpoint, about one and a half miles (2.5km) from the Afghan border.
A Pakistani military spokesman confirmed the pre-dawn attack in the tribal region of Mohmand.
“Nato helicopters carried out an unprovoked and indiscriminate firing on a Pakistani check post in Mohmand agency, casualties have been reported and details are awaited,” the spokesman told Reuters.
The attack took place around 2am in the Baizai area of Mohmand, where Pakistani troops are fighting Taliban militants.
A spokesman for the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force in Kabul said the coalition was aware of “an incident” and gathering more information.
The attack comes as relations between the United States and Pakistan, its ally in the war on terror, are strained following the killing of the al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden by US special forces in a secret raid on the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad in May.
A senior Pakistani military officer said efforts were under way to bring the bodies to the headquarters of Mohmand tribal region from their post located on hilltops near the Afghan border.
“The latest attack by Nato forces on our post would have serious repercussions as they without any reason attacked on our post and killed soldiers asleep,” he said, requesting anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to the media.
Pakistani authorities blocked the vital supply route from Pakistan into Afghanistan for Nato troops, local officials said.
Trucks and fuel tankers were stopped at Jamrud town in the Khyber tribal region near the city of Peshawar, hours after the raid, they said.
“We have halted the supplies and some 40 tankers and trucks have been returned from the check post in Jamrud,” Mutahir Zeb, a senior government official, told Reuters.
Another official said the supplies had been stopped for security reasons.