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Pak troops shoot to send back US force

Pakistani troops fired shots and sent back US forces trying to cross the border with Afghanistan to carry out an anti-insurgency operation. Kamal Siddiqi reports.

world Updated: Sep 16, 2008 00:39 IST
Kamal Siddiqi

Pakistani troops early on Monday fired shots and sent back US forces trying to cross the border with Afghanistan to carry out an anti-insurgency operation, officials said.

It was not clear whether the US forces were on foot or they breached airspace. The incident took place close to the town of Angoor Adda, 30 km from Wana, the main town of South Waziristan. The town has earlier seen attacks by US forces.

Sources said the US troops were crossing into the country from Afghanistan on foot. But news agencies reported that Pakistani forces, aided by local tribesmen, fired at US helicopters as they entered Pakistani airspace.

While Pakistan army officials confirmed the incident, the Pentagon, denied it. It “did not happen” AFP quoted Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman as saying in Washington.

Attacks by US forces have been widely condemned in Pakistan over past few days, and led to a shrill call to the government to stop them. “It is a most unfortunate incident,” said Ahsan Iqbal, a leader of the opposition PML-N party.

Last week, Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Kayani said in a statement that Pakistan would repel attacks by foreign powers on its soil. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani endorsed the statement, saying it “reflected the views of the government”.