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World War 3 Alert : Pakistani paramilitary troops shot at NATO helicopters

 
Rajiv
User ID: 1387874
India
05/17/2011 05:51 PM
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World War 3 Alert : Pakistani paramilitary troops shot at NATO helicopters
[link to www.washingtonpost.com]

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistani paramilitary troops shot at NATO helicopters that crossed from Afghanistan into Pakistan early Tuesday, triggering a firefight that left two soldiers wounded, military officials here said.

The incident, which coalition officials in Afghanistan said they were investigating, served as a new threat to U.S.-Pakistani relations a day after Sen. John F. Kerry visited this capital city to alleviate heightened tensions following the U.S. raid to kill Osama bin Laden. Pakistan, facing domestic criticism over the operation and international suspicion about its failure to locate bin Laden, had warned that it would resist any future U.S. incursions into its territory.

According to a statement by the Pakistani army, paramilitary soldiers at a border post in North Waziristan spotted NATO helicopters in Pakistani airspace Tuesday morning. They fired on the helicopters, which then shelled the post, injuring two, the statement said. Pakistan said it had lodged a “strong protest” with NATO and demanded a border meeting of military officials.

After a NATO airstrike that killed three Pakistani soldiers last September, Pakistan retaliated by shutting a key border crossing used as a supply route for coalition troops in landlocked Afghanistan. The crossing stayed closed for 11 days, and the United States apologized for the incident.

A spokesman for the NATO-led coalition, Lt. Col. John L. Dorrian, said the incident Tuesday was being assessed “in a cooperative manner” through a border coordination center manned by Afghan, Pakistani and NATO forces.

In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Marine Col. Dave Lapan said that NATO and Pakistani officials were working “to determine the sequence of events” and whether the helicopters had indeed crossed into Pakistani airspace.

He said the NATO helicopters were responding to “direct and indirect fire” aimed at Forward Operating Base Tillman, in Afghanistan’s Khost province, near the Pakistani border.

North Waziristan, part of Pakistan’s tribal belt, is the base for al-Qaeda and other militant groups that target international forces in Afghanistan. While Pakistan tacitly allows CIA drone strikes in that area, Pakistan’s military has long resisted U.S. pressure to launch a counterinsurgency operation there. Some U.S. officials say they believe that Pakistani intelligence supports North Waziristan-based militants as tools for influence in Afghanistan — an allegation that has gained traction since bin Laden was killed in a military garrison city a two-hour drive north of Islamabad.

Pakistan has lashed out at such accusations, saying that it has arrested or killed dozens of al-Qaeda members. On Tuesday, the Pakistani army announced that it had arrested a “senior al-Qaeda operative” in the southern port city of Karachi. The man, a Yemeni national named Muhammad Ali Qasim Yaqub, alias Abu Sohaib al-Makki, worked directly under al-Qaeda leaders along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, the army said.

It was unclear Tuesday how Yaqub fits into the al-Qaeda hierarchy or when Pakistan arrested him. The Pakistani statement called his arrest “a major development in unraveling the al-Qaeda network operating in the region.”

On Monday, Kerry told reporters here that his meetings with Pakistani civilian and military officials had resulted in agreements to share more intelligence and carry out more joint operations. But he indicated that the soured relationship was far from fully mended — something Pakistani officials, who accuse the United States of being a fickle friend, have echoed.

On Tuesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani traveled to China, an ally and trading partner viewed in Pakistan as more reliable and less judgmental than the United States, which provides billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan. Political analysts say Pakistan is seeking to deepen its partnership with China, which Gillani called Pakistan’s “best friend” Tuesday, partly to demonstrate to the United States that it has other options for assistance.

Also Tuesday, security officials in the southwestern city of Quetta said they had shot and killed four suspected suicide bombers who fired on a paramilitary checkpoint. The attackers were foreigners, and three were women, police chief Daood Junejo told reporters. A fifth detonated his explosives, Junejo said.

U.S. officials said Quetta is the home of the supreme council of the Afghan Taliban, headed by spiritual leader Muhammad Omar. Pakistan vehemently denies this.

Special correspondent Haq Nawaz Khan in Peshawar and staff writer Craig Whitlock in Washington contributed to this report.
Fine Material

User ID: 1155915
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05/17/2011 05:54 PM

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Re: World War 3 Alert : Pakistani paramilitary troops shot at NATO helicopters
Pakistan shooting at U.S. helicopters will not lead to WW3.

It will lead to a pile of dead Pakis.
Rajiv (OP)
User ID: 1387874
India
05/17/2011 05:54 PM
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Re: World War 3 Alert : Pakistani paramilitary troops shot at NATO helicopters
NATO choppers fly into Pak, fire on troops

Miranshah (Pak), May 17
NATO helicopters from Afghanistan intruded into northwest Pakistan today, wounding two soldiers, officials said, prompting a protest from the military already seething over the secret US operation to kill Osama bin Laden.

The Pakistan army said it had lodged a “strong protest” and sought a flag meeting with NATO commanders over the incursion in Pakistan’s North Waziristan near the Afghan border, which has been repeatedly targeted by US drone aircraft.

A local government official said two NATO helicopters crossed into North Waziristan and remained for about 10 minutes in the area, known to be a hub for Al-Qaida-linked fighters.

A Western military official in Kabul, however, said two NATO helicopters supporting a base in eastern Afghanistan had returned fire after being attacked from Pakistan, but declined to say whether they had crossed into Pakistani airspace. A senior Pakistani security official said NATO has complained of “unprovoked firing.” — Reuters
Rajiv (OP)
User ID: 1387874
India
05/17/2011 05:59 PM
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Re: World War 3 Alert : Pakistani paramilitary troops shot at NATO helicopters
Pakistan shooting at U.S. helicopters will not lead to WW3.

It will lead to a pile of dead Pakis.

 Quoting: Fine Material


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