Monday, September 29, 2008

Pakistan developments

From The Times:

Pakistan and US troops exchange fire

Sept 26 - ... Two American OH-58 reconnaissance helicopters, known as Kiowas, were on a routine patrol in the eastern province of Khost when they received small arms fire from the Pakistani border post, according to a U.S. military spokesman in Bagram. There was no damage to aircraft or crew, officials said.

U.S. Central Command spokesman Rear Admiral Greg Smith said the helicopters had been escorting U.S. troops and Afghan border police. When the helicopters were fired on, the ground forces fired rounds meant not to hit the Pakistani troops, but to make certain that they realized they should stop shooting; Rear AdmiralSmith said from Centcom headquarters in Florida.

The Pakistani forces fired back during a skirmish that lasted about five minutes. The joint patrol was moving about a mile inside Afghanistan, with the helicopters flying above, he said.

The Pakistani military disputed the U.S. version, saying its troops fired warning shots when the two helicopters crossed over the border — and that the U.S. helicopters fired back... (link)
Meanwhile, Pakistani military attacks against Taliban insurgents in Bajaur have driven hundreds of thousands of civilians from their homes, some 20,000 of whom fled across the border into Afghanistan, according to the UN. These 4,000 families, now in Kunar provine, have mostly taken up with relatives, though some 200 families are staying" in the open air" (UNHCR spokesperson). The Red Cross, UNICEF and others are assisting.

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