In a new reminder of the ever-present tensions along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, NATO attack helicopters reportedly crossed the border today into Pakistan’s restive Kurram Agency. The helicopters lingered for about 10 minutes before returning to Afghanistan, and there were no reports of fire.
NATO helicopters had last crossed the border in late September, launching an attack on a Pakistani military force and killing three soldiers. The attack caused a major international incident, and led Pakistan to close the border for over a week before the US apologized for the killings.
Tensions over the attack have lingered since then, with a number of NATO officlals maintaining (though increasingly not in public) they did nothing wrong in launching the attack, and that the Pakistani government needs better control over its borders.
So far officials have not commented on the latest incursion, but given the two sides’ increasingly split,positions on Afghanistan it seems poised to be blown far out of proportion to the seriousness of the incident. Considering NATO is still depending on Pakistan for materially all of its war supplies in Afghanistan, it is a conflict they can ill afford to escalate.