UPDATE II: New Report Says That U.S. Ground Troops Exchanged Fire With Pakistani Troops – go here.
UPDATE: Pakistani President Denies Troops Fired at Choppers – Says Flares Were Shot – go here.
NATO and Pentagon say helicopters were in Afghanistan during incident
msnbc / September 25, 2008
KABUL, Afghanistan – Pakistani troops fired at U.S. helicopters patrolling eastern Afghanistan, NATO and the U.S. military said on Thursday, in an incident that will likely strain relations with one of the West’s most important allies in the war on terror.
“They were U.S. helicopters,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters at a briefing soon after NATO announced news of the incident. In Afghanistan, some U.S. aircraft operate under NATO, which has around 52,700 troops in the war-torn country.
“The flight path of the helicopters at no point took them over Pakistan,” Whitman said. There were no casualties, NATO said earlier in a statement.Pakistan said its own troops and foreign helicopters had both opened fire in the border incident, which came as the country was still reeling from a huge suicide attack in capital Islamabad.
Whitman said U.S. and NATO military officials were speaking to their Pakistani counterparts to determine what happened and to ensure there was no recurrence, adding: “The Pakistanis have to provide us with a better understanding of why this took place.”
The shootings followed a number of alleged incursions along the border with in recent days. A drone believed to be operated by the CIA crashed inside Pakistan on Wednesday.