NATO shells Pak forces, two troops injured

A NATO copter incursion into Pakistan`s North Waziristan wounded two troops.

Last Updated: May 17, 2011, 12:00 PM IST

Miranshah: A NATO helicopter incursion into Pakistan`s North Waziristan wounded two troops on Tuesday, local intelligence officials said, further ratcheting up tensions between Islamabad and the West.

"It happened early morning," a Pakistani intelligence official in the region, who declined to be identified, told Reuters. "The helicopter hit a Pakistani check post on the border in the Datta Khel area."

Another intelligence official said several Pakistani helicopters took off from Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, toward the site of the attack. The purpose of the Pakistani mobilization was unclear.

The Pakistani military was immediately unavailable for comment.

A spokesman for Western forces in Afghanistan said the coalition was not unaware of any incident, but would investigate.

North Waziristan is the base of the Haqqani network blamed for the insurgency in eastern Afghanistan. U.S.-led drone aircraft have repeatedly targeted the area over the past year.

The incursion is the latest irritant for Pakistan in its dealings with the United States and NATO forces fighting in Afghanistan.

Relations with Washington have been pushed almost to the breaking point after the secret May 2 raid on Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden, embarrassing and humiliating the powerful Pakistani Army and intelligence service.

Before that, in late January, undercover CIA contractor Raymond Davis killed two Pakistanis in Lahore, resulting in a six-week standoff over diplomatic immunity.

A previous incursion on September 30, 2010, killed two Pakistani troops and wounded four more when NATO helicopters crossed the border while pursing insurgents. Pakistan retaliated by shutting down the supply route for NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Washington sees the rugged border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan as a critical battleground against al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Bureau Report