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Pakistani troops injured in NATO helicopter raid

Pakistani troops injured in NATO helicopter raid

May 17, 2011 - 12:58

ISLAMABAD(PANinfo-icon): In a cross border incursion, a NATOinfo-icon helicopter from Afghanistaninfo-icon hit a Pakistani security post near the joint border in North Waziristan tribal belt early on Tuesday, injuring two security personnel, officials said.

The raid happened at 9am in Lwara Mandai village in Datta Khel area. The helicopter hit a Pakistani border police post, but went back to Afghanistan after the troops returned fire, a Miranshah based government official, Mirza Gul, said. He said two Pakistani security personnel were injured in the attack.

The injured were taken to a military hospital in Miranshah, the main town in the region, another official, Gul Fam, said. However, he said their injuries were not life-threatening.

The security post was destroyed while some nearby residential houses were also damaged during the attack, resident, Naseer, said.

The Pakistani military was immediately unavailable for comment.

In Kabulinfo-icon, a spokeswoman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAFinfo-icon), Lt Commander Colette Murphy, said they had reports and were looking into them.

North Waziristan is the base of the Haqqani networkinfo-icon blamed for the insurgency in eastern Afghanistan. US-led drone aircraft have repeatedly targeted the area over the past year.

Many militants, including foreign fighters loyal to al Qaeda, are based in Datta Khel. It is a stronghold of fighters loyal to Hafiz Gul Bahadur and has been a frequent target of US drone strikes.

Pakistaninfo-icon's Express 24/7 television channel said the checkpost targeted in the latest attack was located right on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It quoted officials as saying that the helicopters were just about to intrude into Pakistani territory when aerial gunshots were fired. They subsequently moved back but fired a retaliatory shot due to which rubble fell from the nearby mountains and wounded the security personnel.

The reported incursion came a day after unmanned US drone aircraft fired missiles in Datta Khel killing 12 militants, Pakistani officials said.

An intelligence official said that one of the dead militants, an Arab, was the son of an al Qaeda operative identified as Abu Kashif. There was no way to verify the death toll. Militants often dispute official accounts of drone attack

Relations between the US and Pakistan have been pushed almost to the breaking point after the secret May 2 raid on Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden, embarrassing and humiliating the powerful Pakistani Army and intelligence service.


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