ISAF denies helicopters struck inside Pakistan

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For the second time this week, the International Security Assistance Force command in Afghanistan denied that its helicopters intruded into Pakistani airspace.

Earlier today, ISAF issued a statement denying a report by Xinhua which claimed that US helicopters had crossed into the Datta Khel area of Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.

“International Security Assistance Force is aware of a claim by the Xinhua News Agency that two NATO helicopters crossed into Pakistan’s air space today,” the press release stated. “ISAF confirmed through operational reporting and the US Embassy in Pakistan that no ISAF aircraft crossed the border and there have been no reports of injuries. ISAF was not contacted for comment prior to the publication of the Xinhua article.”

The Xinhua report claimed that two NATO attack helicopters had penetrated about one kilometer into Pakistani airspace and fired missiles into the village of Lawra Mandi, wounding three people. Dawn also reported on the incident.

“Local administration confirmed the attack, saying the three injured have been shifted to a hospital in Miramshah, the main town in North Waziristan,” Xinhua claimed.

ISAF issued a similar denial on Nov. 23, when Xinhua claimed that US helicopters had entered Pakistani airspace. No missiles were reported to have been fired in the earlier incident.

The unconfirmed reports of the helicopter incursions into Pakistan take place two months after three similar incidents that led to the closure of NATO’s supply line through the Khyber Pass by the Pakistani government. At the end of September, US helicopters struck Haqqani Network forces as they carried out attacks in Afghanistan’s Khost province and then fled to their safe havens in Pakistan’s tribal agencies of Kurram and North Waziristan. In one strike, two Pakistani Frontier Corps soldiers were killed.

In protest, the Pakistani government closed the Khyber Pass, one of the two key crossing routes for NATO supplies, for 10 days. During that time, more than 200 NATO fuel tankers and supply trucks and containers were savaged in major attacks against convoys and rest stops in Baluchistan and Khyber-Paktunkwha provinces, as well as just outside of the cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

The border crossing was reopened on Oct. 9 after top US generals and officials apologized for the cross-border strikes.

The major attacks on NATO convoys stopped immediately after Pakistan reopened the Khyber Pass. Some US officials told The Long War Journal that they believed the Pakistani military either facilitated or turned a blind eye to Taliban attacks on NATO’s convoys, to punish the US for carrying out cross-border raids. The officials also said the Pakistani military wants to deflect building Western pressure on Pakistan to carry out military operations in the Taliban and al Qaeda havens in North Waziristan. [See LWJ report, Taliban torch 35 more NATO tankers in Pakistan, for more information.]

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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7 Comments

  • Max says:

    Who cares what the Pak government thinks anyway? We already know they’re working against us in Afghanistan. Let’s just do what needs to be done and get it over with IMO, and the Pakis don’t like it, let them try and stop us.

  • Tim says:

    @Max
    Well, thats what we said the last time the Halos entered Pakistani airspace. As a reprisal, Pakistani Army ISI (the real taliban) burnt supply trucks inside pakistan territory. NATO Generals and diplomats had to tender a humiliaing apology (more than once). Such is the arrogance of Pakistan today (because it has the backing of China) or lets say, such is the sorry state of the West today. China and its satellites openly threaten peaceful democratic states and we don’t have enough guts or resources to stand united to counter them.

  • Caratacus10ad says:

    Must be debatable whether the territory of South and North Waziristan are in fact sovereign territories of the Pakistani state anymore(?) as it would appear the state itself has no direct or political control over what occurs within those regions…
    Can Pakistan actually demonstrate that South and North Waziristan are not fully autonomous to the state, I wonder? (If they are fully autonomous(?) then the Pakistanis themselves are hindering once again, the war on terror!)

  • nobody says:

    Cut the billions in military aid to Pakistan then build an economic and military alliance with India. Promote Indian interest and investment inside Afghanistan. Make them realize their worst nightmare if they don’t start behaving. We are trying to keep the country from imploding when maybe we should let it implode. Sometimes it’s easier to start from scratch and chaos than to keep a lie going. How about we start the bidding at 200 million in aid and some helicopter parts for Haqqani’s head on a platter? Then work our way up from there to we get to UBL himself.

  • Ranger says:

    It’s amazing how well the first two comments illuminate the fundamental “problem” in the GWOT.

  • Render says:

    The AGM-114 Hellfire missile has a range of up to five miles, (or 8 kilometers for the metrically challenged).
    It is entirely possible that AH-64’s would not need to enter Pakistani airspace to target locations that are within five miles of the poorly defined border.
    ===
    At this point, if the Chinese press and/or Pakistani government cannot show GPS fixed video from independent observers, of US attack helicopters operating within Pakistani airspace, then I see no reason to believe either of them.
    It’s certainly not like veracity is a strong suit of the Pakistani military or government.
    SEE
    THE
    MONEY?,
    R

  • Infidel4LIFE says:

    This is why the mission may fail. They run into PAK, we can’t go there, and the PAK gov, army have no intention of killing off their trump card against India. The Chinese must be dealt with economically, they are killing us. Who signed that deal anyway? Clinton? He signed NAFTA too. Like Rome, we are headed for the dark ages. Greedy pols who let US companies up and move to China who then use our markets as an economic dumping ground. We play chess. They play Goh. Looks like the “Goh” strategy is working. We are imploding.

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