Reuters: U.S. bombs hit Pakistan town after border clash
- 31 Dec 2002 14:46
U.S. bombs hit Pakistan town after border clash
BAGRAM, Afghanistan, Dec 31 (Reuters) - The U.S. military bombed an abandoned religious school on Pakistani territory after a gunbattle between U.S. and Pakistani troops on the border with Afghanistan, Pakistan officials said on Tuesday.
The U.S. military said that one of its soldiers had been wounded in Afghanistan on Sunday in an exchange of gunfire with a Pakistani border guard. A Pakistani official said two border guards were also injured.
Pakistan is a close U.S. ally in the war on terror and says it has stationed 60,000-70,000 troops on the Afghan border to help track down remnants of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network and leaders of the Taliban regime that sheltered them.
The wounded American was part of a unit conducting a mission with Pakistani forces along the Afghan border when a disagreement appeared to break out, according to a statement released by the U.S. military at their Afghan headquarters at Bagram air base.
"A Pakistani border scout opened fire with a G3 rifle after the U.S. patrol asked him to return to the Pakistan side of the border," the statement said.
"That individual and several others retreated to a nearby structure," it added. "Close air support was requested and one 500-lb bomb was dropped on the target area."
Mohammad Khurshied, a local official in Pakistan's South Waziristan tribal area close to the Afghan border, later told Reuters that a seminary in the Pakistani town of Angor Adda had been hit by U.S. warplanes.
A Pakistani intelligence official said two bombs were dropped on Pakistani soil, but he reported no injuries.
Haji Anar Gul, a businessman in the area, added that the bombs fell on a religious seminary known as the Maulvi Mohammad Hassan madrassah, damaging its boundary wall and main gate.
The U.S. military said the incident happened near the Afghan village of Shkin, which lies on the border with Pakistan.
"We are working with the Pakistanis for an accurate battlefield damage assessment from the incident," it said.
According to Khurshied, a series of talks between U.S. and Pakistani military officials on the border had resolved differences surrounding Sunday's incident.
The U.S. statement did not give details of the joint U.S. and Pakistani mission or say whether it was taking place inside Pakistan or Afghanistan.
U.S. forces patrolling eastern Afghanistan for al Qaeda fugitives say they cooperate with Pakistani forces on the other side of the border, but do not cross into Pakistani territory to pursue fugitives.
The U.S. statement also did not say what the Pakistani border guard was doing inside Afghanistan.
The wounded soldier was flown to Germany for medical treatment and is in stable condition, the U.S. military said.
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