NATO Helicopter Fires on Pakistan Army Post

May 17, 2011 - 2:15 AM

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) — A NATO helicopter attacked a Pakistani army post near the Afghan border Tuesday, injuring two Pakistani soldiers in an incident that could further increase tension following the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

NATO confirmed there were helicopters flying near the Pakistani border and was investigating the reported attack.

"There were helicopters operating in the border region, and we are aware there has been an incident, said NATO coalition spokesman Lt. Col. John Dorrian. "But we are going to have to assess the situation."

He declined to give further details or say which NATO country was involved.

Most of the helicopters that fly in that part of Afghanistan are American.

NATO helicopters that fly in the area are outfitted with equipment that monitors whether they cross over the Pakistani border, said a NATO official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Authorities are now reviewing that equipment, said the official.

The attack took place Tuesday morning in the Datta Khel area of the North Waziristan tribal region, said the Pakistani intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Pakistani troops responded with machine gun fire and deployed two helicopter gunships over the post, but the NATO helicopter had already left, they said.

Relations between Pakistan and the U.S. have hit a low point following the Navy SEAL raid that killed bin Laden in Abbottabad, an army town only about 35 miles outside the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

The Pakistani government is outraged that the U.S. carried out the operation without telling them first, and many U.S. officials have expressed belief that bin Laden could have lived in Abbottabad for at least five years without Pakistan knowing. Although, the U.S. has said it has not found any evidence yet that Pakistani leaders knew of bin Laden's whereabouts.

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Associated Press writer Heidi Vogt contributed to this report from Kabul, Afghanistan.