PESHAWAR - Thirteen members of the Pakistani Frontier Corps, including a colonel, were killed in an apparent friendly fire incident in a northwestern region infested with al Qaeda and Taliban-linked militants, a top military commander said on Tuesday.
The deaths occurred late on Monday during an anti-militant operation by the paramilitary Frontier Corps in Khyber, an ethnic Pashtun tribal region near the Afghan border.
Lieutenant-General Asif Yasin Malik, the senior most officer in the northwest, said a mortar fired by the soldiers erroneously fell on their position, causing the deaths.
"The soldiers were coming under machine gun fire and they were retaliating with mortar fire. But a mortar bomb missed the target and mistakenly hit their own position," he told reporters after the funerals of the slain soldiers in the city of Peshawar.