Jim Mannion
Agence France Presse
September 25, 2008

Pakistani and US troops exchanged fire along the Pakistani-Afghan border Thursday after two US military helicopters came under fire, a US military spokesman said.

Rear Admiral Gregory Smith said Pakistani soldiers at a border checkpoint were observed firing on two US OH-58 Kiowa helicopters covering a patrol of Afghan and US troops about a mile and a half inside Afghanistan.

“The ground forces then fired into the hillside nearby that checkpoint, gained their attention, which worked,” Smith told AFP by telephone.

“Unfortunately, though, the Pak unit decided to shoot down a hillside at our ground forces. Our ground forces returned fire.”

Smith, a spokesman for the US Central Command, said no one on either side was hit in the exchange, which occurred in late afternoon, and the helicopters never fired any rounds.

“The whole thing lasted about five minutes,” he said. “It all ended quickly.”

The Pakistani military said its troops had fired warning shots at two helicopters which were “well within Pakistani territory.”

But Smith and Pentagon officials said the helicopters were in Afghan air space.

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