Haris Anwar and James Rupert
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Two NATO helicopters entered Pakistani airspace and triggered a firefight that injured two soldiers, Pakistan’s military said, in a further setback to ties strained by the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
Pakistan troops at a border post in the North Waziristan region shot at the aircraft of the U.S.-led force in Afghanistan and were injured in a return of fire, according to an e-mail sent by Inter-Services Public Relations, the press office at Pakistan’s army headquarters in Rawalpindi. The army has lodged a “strong protest” with NATO’s Kabul-based International Security Assistance Force, the statement said. ISAF is aware of the incident and is investigating, spokesman Lieutenant John Harden said by phone.
North Waziristan is a mountainous district from where Afghan and Pakistani Taliban guerrillas attack U.S. troops across the border in Afghanistan. Last September, Pakistan closed its border to U.S. military supplies for 10 days after a similar exchange of fire between a U.S. helicopter and Pakistani border troops.
The incident added to already heightened tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan in their nine-year joint effort to subdue some Islamic militant guerrilla groups in the Afghanistan- Pakistan region. U.S. Senator John Kerry met Pakistan’s army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and civilian leaders this week in an effort to improve dialogue after U.S. commandos raided a house deep in Pakistan May 2 to kill al-Qaeda leader bin Laden.
Full story here.