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Archive for Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Crash revives concern for president’s safety

October 9, 2007

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— A helicopter carrying aides to President Gen. Pervez Musharraf crashed Monday as the Pakistani leader flew to Kashmir. Though blamed on a technical fault, the accident revived concern for Musharraf's safety as his war with Islamic militants intensifies.

The army said four people died when the craft attempted an emergency landing, but the U.S.-allied leader was never in danger. Still, with new fighting against extremists raging along the Afghan border, it was a reminder that Musharraf has survived several assassination attempts.

Musharraf's entourage was aboard three helicopters on a trip to the Pakistani portion of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir to commemorate Monday as the second anniversary of an earthquake that killed nearly 80,000 people.

An army spokesman, Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad, said Musharraf had reached his destination when one of the two accompanying helicopters crashed. State television later broadcast footage of him touring the quake zone.

"The president was in some other chopper and he safely reached where he had to go," Arshad said.

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