“Even at the time it was seen as a turning point by officials managing day-to-day relations with Pakistan,” but attack was “glossed over” to maintain the relationship with Islamabad. A fine lot of good that did. “Pakistanis Tied to 2007 Border Attack on Americans,” by Carlotta Gall for the New York Times, September 27:
KABUL, Afghanistan “” A group of American military officers and Afghan officials had just finished a five-hour meeting with their Pakistani hosts in a village schoolhouse settling a border dispute when they were ambushed “” by the Pakistanis
An American major was killed and three American officers were wounded, along with their Afghan interpreter, in what fresh accounts from the Afghan and American officers who were there reveal was a complex, calculated assault by a nominal ally. The Pakistanis opened fire on the Americans, who returned fire before escaping in a blood-soaked Black Hawk helicopter.
The attack, in Teri Mangal on May 14, 2007, was kept quiet by Washington, which for much of a decade has seemed to play down or ignore signals that Pakistan would pursue its own interests, or even sometimes behave as an enemy.[…]
Though both sides kept any deeper investigations of the ambush under wraps, even at the time it was seen as a turning point by officials managing day-to-day relations with Pakistan.
Pakistani officials first attributed the attack to militants, then, when pressed to investigate, to a single rogue soldier from the Frontier Corps, the poorly controlled tribal militia that guards the border region. To this day, none of the governments have publicly clarified what happened, hoping to limit damage to relations. Both the American and Pakistani military investigations remain classified.
“The official line covered over the details in the interests of keeping the relationship with Pakistan intact,” said a former United Nations official who served in eastern Afghanistan and was briefed on the events immediately after they occurred.
“At that time in May 2007, you had a lot of analysis pointing to the role of Pakistan in destabilizing that part of Afghanistan, and here you had a case in point, and for whatever reason it was glossed over,” he said. The official did not want to be named for fear of alienating the Pakistanis, with whom he must still work.
Exactly why the Pakistanis might have chosen Teri Mangal to make a stand, and at what level the decision was made, remain unclear. Requests to the Pakistani military for information and interviews for this article were not answered. One Pakistani official who was present at the meeting indicated that the issue was too sensitive to be discussed with a journalist. Brig. Gen. Martin Schweitzer, the American commander in eastern Afghanistan at the time, whose troops were involved, also declined to be interviewed.
At first, the meeting to resolve the border dispute seemed a success. Despite some tense moments, the delegations ate lunch together, exchanged phone numbers and made plans to meet again. Then, as the Americans and Afghans prepared to leave, the Pakistanis opened fire without warning. The assault involved multiple gunmen, Pakistani intelligence agents and military officers, and an attempt to kidnap or draw away the senior American and Afghan officials. […]
To stem the flow of militants, the Afghan government was building more border posts, including one at Gawi, in Jaji District, one of the insurgents” main crossing points, according to Rahmatullah Rahmat, then the governor of Paktia Province in eastern Afghanistan.
Pakistani forces objected to the new post, claiming it was on Pakistani land, and occupied it by force, killing 13 Afghans. Over the following days dozens were killed as Afghan and Pakistani forces traded mortar rounds and moved troops and artillery up to the border. Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, began to talk of defending the border at all costs, said Gen. Dan K. McNeill, the senior American general in Afghanistan at the time.
The border meeting was called, and a small group of Americans and Afghans “” 12 men in total “” flew by helicopters to Teri Mangal, just inside Pakistan, to try to resolve the dispute. They included Mr. Rahmat. The Afghans remember the meeting as difficult but ending in agreement. The Pakistanis described it as cordial, said Mahmood Shah, a retired brigadier and a military analyst who has spoken to some of those present at the meeting.
The Americans say the experience was like refereeing children, but after five hours of back and forth the Pakistanis agreed to withdraw from the post, and the Afghans also agreed to abandon it.
Then, just as the American and Afghan officials were climbing into vehicles provided to take them the short distance to a helicopter landing zone, a Pakistani soldier opened fire with an automatic rifle, pumping multiple rounds from just 5 or 10 yards away into an American officer, Maj. Larry J. Bauguess Jr., killing him almost instantly. An operations officer with the 82nd Airborne Division from North Carolina, Major Bauguess, 36, was married and the father of two girls, ages 4 and 6.
An American soldier immediately shot and killed the attacker, but at the same instant several other Pakistanis opened fire from inside the classrooms, riddling the group and the cars with gunfire, according to the two senior Afghan commanders who were there. Both escaped injury by throwing themselves out of their car onto the ground….