Tuesday, May 17, 2011

US apache helicopter exchanges fire with Pakistan ...

By MARTHA RADDATZ (@martharaddatz) , NICK SCHIFRIN (@nickschifrin) and LEE FERRAN
May 17, 2011

A U.S. helicopter exchanged fire with Pakistani troops near the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan today, resulting in injuries for two Pakistani soldiers, U.S. and Pakistani officials said.

Accounts differ as to what exactly prompted the firefight, but the incident may further strain already fragile relations between the U.S. and Pakistan following the American unilateral military raid deep in Pakistani territory that killed Osama bin Laden May 1.

The U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said U.S. helicopters were in Afghanistan near Forward Operating Base Tillman when they responded to incoming direct and indirect fire from over the border in Pakistan, presumably from militants. The helicopters initially did not return fire, but when a second round of incoming fire began, they did fire in response.

The Pakistani military, however, said that two NATO helicopters caused the incident by violating Pakistani airspace before being fired upon by Pakistani troops.

"We know for sure the [Apache] helicopter was fired upon -- we got rounds inside the helicopter," Campbell said. "The helicopter returned fire and we are working through just exactly what happened... If [American soldiers] are taking effective fire, then by all means they have to take all measures to safeguard themselves and the other people around there."

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