Pakistan fires at US choppers

September 22, 2008 12:00 am

, MIRANSHAH, September 22 – Pakistani security forces opened fire at two US helicopter gunships which violated Pakistani airspace in a rugged tribal region bordering Afghanistan, local officials said Monday.

The incident happened late on Sunday near Lwara Mundi village in the North Waziristan district, where Pakistani forces have been battling Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants, they said.

"Pakistani forces fired at two US gunships which violated Pakistan’s airspace and forced them to return to Afghanistan," a local security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"The helicopters flew back after our troops fired shots at them," the official said.

There was no immediate comment from the Pakistani military or the US-led coalition in Kabul. Regular Pakistani army troops and paramilitary forces under the command of the interior ministry both operate in the region.

The incident comes amid growing anger in Pakistan at cross-border raids by US-led coalition troops based in Afghanistan targeting Islamic extremist hideouts.

A September 3 ground attack by US commandos in the neighbouring tribal district of South Waziristan left 15 people dead, sparking a furious response by Pakistani army chief General Ashfaq Kayani.

In another incident shots were fired when US helicopters neared the Pakistani border on September 15.


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