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U.S. Troops Kill 2 Pakistani Soldiers

August 12, 2003|From Times Wire Services

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — U.S. forces who were attacked near the border in Afghanistan mistakenly killed two Pakistani soldiers Monday, American and Pakistani officials said.

U.S. troops on a morning patrol near Orgun, in eastern Afghanistan's Paktika province, were shot at by enemy forces who then fled toward Pakistan, said a statement by the U.S. Central Command, based in Tampa, Fla.

American forces on the ground and in the air returned fire, mistakenly killing the two Pakistani soldiers and wounding another, the statement said, adding that the incident was under investigation. It called the incident "unfortunate and unintended."

The shooting was the first such reported incident involving U.S. troops operating in Afghanistan.

A senior Pakistani official said the Americans mistook the Pakistani patrol for Al Qaeda or Taliban fighters.

"It was due to some misunderstanding," the official said, on condition of anonymity.

In Pakistan, military authorities said U.S. forces fired on the Imal Khel post in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region, located about 160 miles southwest of Peshawar, but it provided no details.

Taliban and Al Qaeda fugitives are believed to have sought refuge in the tribal region near the Afghanistan border.

A U.S.-led coalition ousted the Taliban regime from Afghanistan in late 2001, but American forces remain in the country searching for remnants of the regime and its allies in Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist network.

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