WASHINGTON — Pakistani and American ground troops exchanged fire along the border with Afghanistan on Thursday after the Pakistanis shot at two American helicopters, ratcheting up tensions as the United States increases its attacks against militants from Al Qaeda and the Taliban, who are being sheltered in Pakistan’s restive tribal areas.
The two American OH-58 Kiowa reconnaissance helicopters were not damaged and no casualties were reported on either side from the ground fire. But American and Pakistani officials agreed on little else about what happened in the fleeting mid-afternoon clash between the allied troops.
American and NATO officials said that the two helicopters were flying about one mile inside Afghan air space to protect an American and Afghan patrol on the ground when the aircraft were fired on by small-caliber arms fire from a Pakistani military checkpoint near Tanai district in Khost Province.
There were some earlier reports about this happening, but this is the first one that has both sides saying this has happened. With the current regime change in Pakistan, it would behoove our efforts to get in good with someone.
We’ll see if we can find some more information on this one (and by “this one” I mean the story about the War on Terror expanding into Pakistan). If someone good comes up I’ll pass it along.