Spy drone crash prompted border skirmish: Officials

Associated Press

Kabul, January 5:

A clash on the Afghan-Pakistan border that killed a Pakistani soldier was triggered by the crash of an unmanned American spy plane in an area where Osama bin Laden may be hiding, officials said today.

Afghan and Pakistani military officials initially blamed each other for starting Sunday’s exchange of artillery and mortar fire near the Pakistani town of Miran Shah, in which one Pakistani soldier died and two others were seriously wounded.

But officials said today that the crash of the reconnaissance drone may have sown confusion which led to the skirmish.

An official with the US-led force in Afghanistan said a team was sent to the crash site to destroy the wreckage. “The explosion caused one side to fire and then the other side fired back,” the official said on condition of anonymity. US warplanes were sent to the area “to calm both sides down,” she said.

The official from the US-led coalition said she had no information on any American planes opening fire. She said it was possible that the drone had crashed in Pakistani territory and that the team sent to the site had crossed the border.