NATO Launches Airstrikes Into Pakistan

NATO says its helicopters have killed more than 30 militants in Pakistan, in an unusual air-raid in that country. The helicopters crossed over the border from Afghanistan in what a NATO spokesman called a 'self-defense" operation. Most NATO attacks on militants in Pakistan have been conducted by unmanned drone aircraft.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ARI SHAPIRO, host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Ari Shapiro.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

U.S. military officials say their helicopters entered Pakistani airspace twice in recent days. They say the unusual raids were carried out in hot pursuit of insurgents and more than 30 militants were killed. NPR's Quil Lawrence reports from Kabul.

QUIL LAWRENCE: American officials say their gunships attacked a group of insurgents across the border on Friday, after observing Afghan forces on the ground taking fire from inside Pakistan. A similar incident occurred in the same border area on Saturday.

Officials say U.S. helicopters killed dozens of insurgents in the attacks and no civilians were harmed. The Taliban issued a routine condemnation of U.S. actions over the weekend, claiming that all the casualties were civilians.

Despite years of complaint by Afghan and American officials, the border with Pakistan remains an escape route for insurgents. U.S. officials say they are allowed to cross the border in hot pursuit or self-defense. But U.S. incursions are hugely unpopular in Pakistan where the government must balance its alliance with the United States against a largely anti-American populace.

Quil Lawrence, NPR News, Kabul

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.