Pakistan, China interested in U.S. chopper

May 11, 2011 at 7:12 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, May 11 (UPI) -- Pakistan and its "best friend" China want to study the remains of a U.S. chopper damaged in Pakistan during the Osama bin Laden raid, Pakistani officials said.

Speaking to ABC News, a Pakistani official expressed his country's interest in the helicopter, while another said China too is interested, adding: "We might let (the Chinese) take a look."

Aviation experts told ABC News they believe the secret stealth-modified helicopter was a highly classified modified version of a Blackhawk helicopter. One said: "You wouldn't know that it was coming right at you. And that's what's important, because these are coming in fast and low. …"

The craft was abandoned by the U.S. Navy SEAL team after killing the al-Qaida leader in a May 2 predawn raid on his compound in the garrison town of Abbottabad, northeast of Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.

Pakistan is a close ally of China and last week, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani described China as Pakistan's "best and most trusted friend" ahead of his visit to the communist country this month.

The ABC News report said the United States has already asked the Pakistanis to return the remains of the craft. A U.S. official said he did not know whether the Pakistanis' had made the offer to the Chinese but added he would be "shocked" if the latter haven't already gotten access.

The White House has said the craft was damaged after clipping a wall and the SEALs tried to destroy it but a portion of the tail section remained after an explosion. The report said the tail section and other destroyed pieces were later photographed being carried on a tractor from the crash site.

Any technological information obtained from studying the remains could be valuable to the Chinese, former White House counter-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke said.

"Because Pakistan gets access to Chinese missile technology and other advanced systems, Islamabad is always looking for ways to give China something in return," Clarke said.

ABC News said U.S. defense officials declined to comment on its report.

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