The situation with the Pakistanis is deteriorating by the minute. On Sunday they fired “warning shots” at U.S. helicopters in Pakistani airspace. Yesterday they may have shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle in Pakistani airspace. And now the Pentagon has just announced that the Pakistani Army fired on U.S. troops in Afghan *airspace.*
Pakistani soldiers manning a border checkpoint fired on U.S. helicopters flying in Afghan airspace today, Defense Department officials said.
The aircraft were on a mission as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. The OH-58 Kiowas never intruded on Pakistani airspace, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
The Pakistani fire did not hit the choppers and the American aircraft did not return fire, Whitman said. “U.S. forces always maintain the right of self-defense,” he said. “In this particular case, my understanding is they just broke off and didn’t return fire.”
Whitman’s best attempt at putting on a happy face is to say “…
Chances are this is a situation where border guards overinterpreted an order given them by their chain of command. It’s not an international incident. But it most certainly is a massive alarm bell that the U.S.-Pakistani relationship has gone off the rails. The rate this is going, some American soldier is going to get killed if something isn’t done. Then we really will have an international incident on our hands.