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Coalition in Afghanistan Denies Border Violation Reports

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2004 – Media reports that a U.S. military helicopter violated Pakistani airspace June 9 in a northwestern tribal area near the Afghanistan border are unfounded, the senior spokesman for Combined Forces Command Afghanistan said today in a written statement.

"We conducted a thorough investigation of this report and found it to be without merit," said Army Col. Randy Pullen. "Coalition aircraft continue to respect the international border. Indeed, we go to extraordinary lengths to ensure we do not inadvertently cross into Pakistani airspace."

Pullen said coalition forces are quick to admit errors when they do occur, but "there was no need to admit an error in this instance."

Pullen expressed concern that erroneous claims and reports could distract the United States and Pakistan from their common goal of battling and defeating terrorism.

"We will not allow unfounded reports to drive a wedge between two strong allies," he said.

Various media reports attributed the claim to a Pakistani defense official.

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