NATO choppers’ intrusion sparks fresh row

Published: May 18, 2011
A file photo of a Nato-led coalition soldier firing during an operation.  PHOTO: REUTERS

A file photo of a Nato-led coalition soldier firing during an operation. PHOTO: REUTERS


Pakistan military on Tuesday lodged a strong protest with the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) troops stationed in Afghanistan for violating the country’s airspace and injuring two of its soldiers in North Waziristan after a cross-border attack.

According to the military, the incident took place at the Admi Kot Post in North Waziristan when the two Nato helicopters intruded into Pakistan’s airspace. “The troops at the post opened fire at the helicopters and, as a result of the exchange of fire, two of our soldiers were injured,” said an army spokesperson.

He added that Pakistan Army had lodged a protest and demanded a flag meeting. However, the Nato officials deny any incursion of airspace and claim the helicopters attacked the Pakistani post after they came under fire from across the border.

These two helicopters had been dispatched to support a coalition base, which was under intermittent fire in the eastern Afghan province of Khost, an unnamed Western military official told the BBC.

The helicopters came under fire twice from across the border and only returned fire when they were attacked a second time, the official claimed.

In response to Pakistan’s protest, a spokeswoman for the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said: “Isaf is aware of the incident and is assessing it to determine what happened. This effort will be pursued in a co-operative manner using  the border co-ordination centre partnership.”

The incident took place a day after Pakistan and the United States agreed on new rules of engagement that call for working together for any future action against the “high value targets” in Pakistan.

The Datakhel region, where the latest clash took place, is considered to have a stronghold of the Taliban militants headed by Hafiz Gul Bahadar and the Haqqani network. The US and Afghan authorities believe that these militants are involved in deadly attacks against the troops inside Afghanistan — a predominant factor why most of the US drone attacks are focused in this particular region of Waziristan.

This incident was a second blow to the Pakistan-Nato relationship. Last September, Pakistan suspended the main supply route for western forces in Afghanistan for several days after Nato choppers crossed the border from Afghanistan in an attack that killed three Pakistani soldiers. The supply route was reopened after a public apology and assurance from top Nato commanders that such incidents will not happen in the future.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (40)

  • Hammad Ali
    May 17, 2011 - 10:24AM

    Fire these helicopters down at least once to convey the message !Recommend

  • Usman Ghani
    May 17, 2011 - 10:29AM

    is this what john kerry has come for?????????? Recommend

  • Star
    May 17, 2011 - 10:34AM

    Now we’ll say if the Pakistan Army’s Bite is worse than it’s bark… It will take only one death of a U.S. soldier at the hands of the Pakistan army to turn the entire U.S. Public against Pakistan…

    Once that happens… God help PakistanRecommend

  • Muhammad Farhan
    May 17, 2011 - 10:51AM

    They should have fired a rocket and taken it down immediately. But something is better than nothing…Recommend

  • IamConcerned!
    May 17, 2011 - 10:53AM

    Chalo Chalo Karachi chalo!! 21-22 May – Lets put an end to these cowardly drone and Nato attacks! Imran hoga,hum hoiengay..dharna hoga dharna hoga!! Recommend

  • ISI
    May 17, 2011 - 11:06AM

    I think its friendly warning shots exchanged. Must not be given too much thought.Recommend

    May 17, 2011 - 11:19AM

    It appears that NATO and US forces are trying to provoke Pakistan to do something silly so that they can take unilateral action against it.Recommend

  • Asad
    May 17, 2011 - 11:24AM

    What’s a “friendly warning shot”? I assumed all shots are hostile!Recommend

  • M. Tariq
    May 17, 2011 - 11:35AM

    Senator Kerry has stated that Pakistan must reform and become the democratic welfare state that Quaid e Azam Mohd Ali Jinnah desired and envisioned. This can only happen if this country has zero tolerance for corruption and its political leadership has the moral high ground to exert civilian supremacy over all institutions including the armed forces. Unfortunately during the last two decades the military interventions have lead to giving support to the most corrupt politicians who have no stakes in this country. The situation demands that there is a strong political leadership with impeccable integrity who can set our own house in order and enforce discipline in all state institutions, so that they work within the confines of constitution. There have been too many mistakes committed in the past, where few men in uniform have played with the destiny of this nation. This cannot be allowed if we want to exist as a sovereign state, with a sound economic base so that the state invests more in socio economic development of the most deprived sections of our society. Recommend

  • Khalid Javed
    May 17, 2011 - 11:41AM

    Pakistan’s resolve to assert & safeguard its sovereignty in the face of global hue & cry after Osama Saga is likely to be tested with similar skimishes & incursions. Similar response to drones issues is also needed to send a signal that passing of resolution in the Parliament has some sanctity at least. Any further drone strikes should be responded with token blockage of NATO supply lines to begin with, followed by gradually enhancing it to days and then weeks if drones continue. Pakistan’s response may not be escalated to the level of striking down the drones on account of apprehensions of deterioration in US-Pak already sore relations, but it will to likely to serve one purpose at least i.e., to exert political & diplomatic pressure on the US not to expand the drone attacks to other cities. Recommend

  • dextor
    May 17, 2011 - 11:49AM

    Waoo this is the new development…which come after yesterdays meeting…Recommend

  • chebbo
    May 17, 2011 - 12:04PM

    Its good. Never let these choppers violate Pakistani airspace and sovereignity of the country.Recommend

  • MS
    May 17, 2011 - 12:22PM

    US is doing right thing guys..Recommend

  • Ali
    May 17, 2011 - 12:23PM

    why they did not let them come in to there home town.if drone can come why not helicopters.Recommend

  • May 17, 2011 - 12:24PM

    So whats our Parliament gonna do after the dronr strike?!?!? :)Recommend

  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    May 17, 2011 - 12:43PM

    @Sehrish Khan:
    NOTHING !! PM is going to condemn like he condemns the drone attacks.Long live PakistanRecommend

  • Haris Siddiqui
    May 17, 2011 - 12:49PM

    Maintain peace and strongly register your voice at UN backed by muslim and friendly countries like China, Malaysia, Russia…..Recommend

  • Kazmis
    May 17, 2011 - 1:01PM

    There will be no result from any protest or Dharna etc. We have done every thing to protest but we never protested the AGREEMENTS made by past & present commands, under which a colonial attitude is carried out. These agreements are made with out asking general public or assembly or intellectuals of the country. Imran Khan should start back cricket now.Recommend

  • May 17, 2011 - 1:36PM

    WTF! after drone attacks, now NATO forces are violating the sovereignty of Pakistan. Come on leaders’ you must know how to prevent them. Use forum like UN, OIC, SAARC, China and Saudi Arabia. If nobody can do this, go and seek help from Taliban and Al-Qaeda!!!! We and our values must be respected at any cost at least by vocalist of Champions like US and European. Recommend

  • May 17, 2011 - 1:47PM

    Please note that ariel Gunshots were fired on the Helicopter and they fired back in self defence.

    These cannot be friendly fire especially in view of the fact that they were flying in Afghan territory at Zero point (Pak-Afghan border).

    Therefore, an investigating report from Pakistan Army would be worthwhile reading before jumping to conclusion and pointing fingers.


    Dr. Saleem Siddiqi

  • junaid ahmed khan
    May 17, 2011 - 1:47PM

    anybody knows about the real incident of USA that was called friendly fire in a world warRecommend

  • May 17, 2011 - 1:50PM

    woah. So they fixed the radar eh?Recommend

  • Fahad Raza
    May 17, 2011 - 1:56PM

    Bring them down.Recommend

  • Hmmm
    May 17, 2011 - 3:30PM

    They will continue condemning it and making us fools – let’s go and have a sit in on the 21st and 22nd – jeena ho ga marna ho ga – sharna ho ga dharna ho gaRecommend

  • Chilli
    May 17, 2011 - 3:50PM

    Pakistan is in hot sauce pan being cooked by US, India and Afghanistan with the help of Puppet government in Pakistan. All set for the complete distruction of Pakistan.Recommend

  • amoghavarsha.ii
    May 17, 2011 - 4:23PM

    Get Help from china want to really see how china will help against US of A.Recommend

  • jahangir siddiqui
    May 17, 2011 - 5:42PM

    Why don’t we take strict actions against NATO and American forces. Why we just limit to condemn on such occasions. Did our military forces not able to shoot out these helicopters. Even though we spend Rs 375 arab on our military forces and just Rs 33 arab on education.Recommend

  • Cautious
    May 17, 2011 - 7:17PM

    You shoot at an American helicopter and it’s going to retaliate – those soldiers don’t care what John Kerry says they are going to defend themselves.Recommend

  • gs
    May 17, 2011 - 7:46PM

    please read the story more carefully.. the ground troops fired first and the helicopter fired warning shots. Rubble injured the two soldiers not bullets. Recommend

  • nj
    May 17, 2011 - 8:36PM

    Protests; speeches, statements, rallies, prayers (joint prayers), loud threats…….all to whom….just to express that we are patriotic. As if a rat race where everyone wants to show how sincere he or she is!!!! so much that they are not bothered about is anyone listeing, is America going to stop….innocents are dying everyday, and who knows if it is a fixed game.
    Do we still hold trust in teh politicians, mullas, preachers….don’t we need an internal revolution; isn’t socialism a perfact match for our country!!!!Recommend

  • Pakistani
    May 17, 2011 - 9:46PM

    Pakistan has to bring these choppers down down..and it will when the time is right..long live Pakistan..Recommend

  • mahmood
    May 17, 2011 - 10:01PM

    What purpose do these border stations have? They apparently have no impact on Taliban moving back/forth and one can always collect bribes and tariffs at a location which is out of harms way. Recommend

  • Sher
    May 17, 2011 - 11:23PM

    All the hijackers in 9/11 were saudies n sum wer frm other arab countries, but dey hav killed innocent people through bombing air stikes in pakistan n afghans. In 10years dey got jus 1 sick man osama. Guys jus watch a DOCMNTRY “ZEITGIEST”. The american public r unaware of watever is happenin here n who is killed in drone, dey jus knw nothin, cuz there media is strong, dey jus dnt show dese things, most americans watch foxNEWS. Truth is america is hajacked by da jews. American intentions r not gud fr pakistan n muslim world n for china.Recommend

  • Romm
    May 18, 2011 - 12:46AM

    I fully agree with you. Socialism is the only Remedy available with Pakistan to come out of this Crisis. We need to act like North Koreans. Got to be Stiff with internal and external Enemies like Mullahs, Rightist capitalists, ethics, and above all Indians Otherwise we shall loose the right to exist as a Nation.Recommend

  • Ahmed
    May 18, 2011 - 5:29AM

    Hi romm, right now, in pakistan, survivism is the key. Forget the rest.Recommend

  • Fahad Hanif
    May 18, 2011 - 10:42AM

    Pakistan should make a high level relationship with countries other than America and make them to know what we want and then get super technology from China, Iran, even Russia and make Pakistan physically strong and then cope with American interference in Pakistan.Recommend

  • khalid Kamal
    May 18, 2011 - 10:56AM

    US has PM & Presidents green nod & Air Chief will switch of his radars on those sites. No problem ……. just a friendly fire little misdirected.Recommend

  • SMR
    May 18, 2011 - 12:37PM

    oi, military… stop protesting. THE NEXT PLANE BETTA BE SHOT DOWN.Recommend

  • IWriteURead
    May 18, 2011 - 1:24PM

    We keep pleasing them by catching people which they term as not tier because pk has caught them and they keep breaking laws. Whats happening?Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    May 18, 2011 - 3:28PM

    @M. Tariq:
    Quaid e Azam’s Dream shall always remain a Dream, as the Ruling classes of the Nation simply do not have same values and vision for Pakistan.Recommend

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