Islamabad/Washington: The US-Pak standoff over the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers by NATO refuses to die down with Pakistan Army on Friday rejecting a US-led probe into the cross-border air raid and Washington refusing to apologise.
   
"The Pakistan Army does not agree with the findings of the US/NATO inquiry as is being reported in the media. The inquiry report is short on facts," Pakistan's Chief Military Spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas said in Islamabad, while reacting to the US-led probe into the November 26 incident.
   
A detailed response will be given as and when the formal report is received," he said in a statement in Islamabad.
   
Earlier, commenting on the probe report, the spokesperson of the National Security Council (NSC), White House, Caitlin Hayden said that "We accept responsibility for the mistakes we made".
   
The report of an investigation led by Brig Gen Stephen Clark, a US Air Force special operations officer from the US Central Command blamed the November 26 incident on "an over-arching lack of trust" between the two sides.
   
The cross border strike killed 24 Pakistan soldiers. He said US forces used the wrong maps, were unaware of Pakistani border post locations and mistakenly provided the wrong location for the troops.
   
Meanwhile, releasing its probe report, the Pentagon said in Washington, its forces acted in self-defence but conceded there were mistakes. However, it refused to apologise.
   
"I think 'we regret' speaks to a sense of sympathy with the Pakistani people... I don't know -- an apology... you can figure that out for your own," State Department Spokesman Mark
Toner told reporters when asked why the US was not using the term apology, which has been a major demand of Pakistan. NSC spokesperson Hayden said President Barack Obama had been briefed on the report in the past several days.
   
"With the investigation complete, our focus is to learn from the mistakes that were made and take whatever corrective measures are required to ensure an incident like this is not repeated," she said in response to a question.
   
Clarke, the US Air Force special operations officer who led the investigation described a confusing series of gaffes rooted in the fact that US and Pakistan do not trust each other enough to provide details about their locations and military operations along the border.
   
Pakistan had responded angrily to the attack by closing all NATO supply routes and forcing the US to vacate Shamsi airbase, reportedly used by CIA-operated drones
   
The US investigation concluded that the "tragic" incident occurred due to lack of co-ordination between the US and Pakistani forces. At the same time it asserted that the strong fire by Pakistani forces was the catalyst for the incident.
   
Both the US and NATO investigation, results of which were released simultaneously, reported that the US-led NATO forces acted in self-defence after being fired upon.
   
"The investigating officer found US forces given what information they had available to them at the time, acted in self-defence and with appropriate force after being fired upon. He also found that there was no intentional effort to target persons or places known to be part of the Pakistani military, or to deliberately provide inaccurate location information to Pakistani officials," Defence Department said.
   
"The combined international and Afghan force was initially fired upon by unidentified forces, then believed not to be Pakistani military and legitimately responded in self- defence," NATO said in another statement issued from Brussels. "Inadequate coordination by US and Pakistani military officers operating through the Border Coordination Center, including our reliance on incorrect mapping information shared with the Pakistani liaison officer, resulted in a misunderstanding about the true location of Pakistani military units," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
   
"This, coupled with other gaps in information about the activities and placement of units from both sides, contributed to the tragic result," he added.
   
While referring all the questions on the investigations to the Department of Defence, the White House said it will now work to improve the level of trust between the United States and Pakistan.
   
"More importantly, we will work to improve the level of trust between the United States and Pakistan countries. We cannot operate effectively on the border -- or in other parts of our relationship -- without addressing the fundamental trust still lacking between us," Hayden said.
   
Hayden said the United States expresses its "deepest regret" for the loss of life and for the lack of proper coordination between US and Pakistani forces that contributed to those losses.
   
"We express our sincere condolences to the Pakistani people, to the Pakistani government, and most importantly to the families of the Pakistani soldiers who were killed or wounded," the White House official said.
   
Earlier in the day, the Department of Defence said it is willing to offer solatia payments to the families of Pakistani soldiers who were killed.

Agencies