Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Our allies in the war on terror:
U.S. Reports Clash With Pakistani Border Unit American Wounded; Bomb Ends Skirmish BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Dec. 31 -- U.S. military authorities announced today that a brief shootout erupted between U.S. and Pakistani troops along the Afghan border Sunday, prompting the U.S. forces to call in an F-16 warplane that dropped a 500-pound bomb on the Pakistanis to end the clash. One U.S. soldier was shot and wounded as the encounter began, the U.S. military said in a statement at Bagram, just north of Kabul, the capital. The soldier, whose identity was withheld, was flown to Germany for medical treatment and was listed in stable condition at a military facility there, the statement said. Reports from Pakistani officials in South Waziristan, the tribal administrative zone on the Pakistani side of the border, said at least two members of the Pakistani Border Scouts were killed in the bombing, which they said hit a Muslim religious school on the Pakistani side of the border in which some of the Border Scouts had taken refuge. U.S. and Pakistani military authorities sought to play down the clash and stressed that both sides remain determined to cooperate in hunting down remnants of Taliban and al Qaeda forces who have redoubts in the isolated border hills and move back and forth across a tense and loosely policed frontier. But the shooting raised again the question of whether some Pakistani soldiers and tribal leaders still sympathize with their Taliban neighbors, whom they long supported until the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

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