Friday, September 26, 2008
Other extracts from the same report:
ISPR: “Two helicopters from the Afghanistan side crossed into Saidgai, Ghulam Khan Sector, North Waziristan. When the helicopters passed over our border post and were well within Pakistan territory, our security forces fired anticipatory warning shots,” said a statement issued by the ISPR.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman: Pakistani troops had fired at US helicopters. “The flight path of the helicopters at no point took them over Pakistan,” he said. Mr Whitman said US and Nato military officials were speaking to their Pakistani counterparts to determine what had happened and to ensure there would be no recurrence. “This is an unfortunate incident. It just goes to demonstrate the importance of coordination along that border,” he said. “The Pakistanis have to provide us with a better understanding of why this took place.” Citing early reports, Mr Whitman said neither helicopter was hit by ground fire and did not return fire against Pakistani positions. Officials said the aircraft would likely have fired back had they been hit. “We avoided a serious incident,” Mr Whitman said, but added: “The incident is troubling, no doubt.”
Zardari: “You mean the flares,” said Mr Zardari when a reporter asked him to comment on the Pentagon’s claim. “Sometimes the border is so mixed that they don’t realise they have crossed the border,” said Mr Zardari, seated opposite Ms Rice at his hotel in New York.
Condoleeza Rice: “The border is very, very unclear, I know,” agreed Ms Rice. Ms Rice tried to defuse the tension, saying that the United States and Pakistan remained close allies in the war on terror.
A military official:... two American OH-58 reconnaissance helicopters, known as Kiowas, crossed into the border post, prompting the Pakistani side to fire warning shots.
Locals:... one of the helicopters was up to one and half kilometers inside Pakistani territory while the other hovered on the Afghan side.
ISAF:The International Security Assistance Force insisted however that the choppers had not entered Pakistani airspace. “Isaf helicopters received small-arms fire from a Pakistan military checkpoint along the border near Tanai district, in Khost province, while conducting routine operations in Afghanistan,” it said in a statement. “There are no reports of any damage to the helicopters or any casualties.” The statement added: “Isaf forces and the Pakistani military are working together to resolve the matter.”
It appears a hot incident did take place. The Inter Services Public Relations of the Pakistan armed forces (ISPR), an unnamed military official, the Pentagon, as well as the ISAF in Afghanistan - all say it took place. Only Zardari and Rice suggest these were just flares to warn of a border crossing.
Blow hot Blow cold is right. It appears the Pakistan Army is delivering on its word to put a stop to cross-border flights by ISAF, Zardari and Rice notwithstanding.
Not a good signal for Zardari's Presidency at all.
Posted by Zeemax at 2:48 PM