Pakistani troops fire at intruding US choppers

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Islamabad, Sept 26 (UNI) Pakistani security forces fired at US gunship helicopters after they violated Pakistan's airspace.

A military spokesman confirmed the incident in a press statement issued last night.

He said two US helicopters intruded into the Pakistani territory from Afghanistan's Khost province in the Saidgai area near Gulam Khan in North Waziristan tribal region.

''When the two helicopters passed over our border post and were well within the Pakistani territory, the security forces deployed at the border fired warning shots,'' the spokesman said.

He added the shots forced the helicopters to fly back to Afghanistan. However, he said the choppers, while retreating, fired back on the security forces.

The official said the matter had been reported to the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) headquarters. He said the issue was being resolved through coordination and communication channel between the Pakistan Army and the ISAF.

''Pakistani troops did not want to shoot down the choppers which they could have done easily,'' a local tribesman Ziarat Khan said after the incident.

A statement issued by the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, however said the helicopters had not crossed into the Pakistani airspace.

''ISAF helicopters received small-arms fire from a Pakistan military checkpoint along the border near Tanai district, Khost, while conducting routine operations in Afghanistan,'' it said.

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