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US Apologizes for Killing of 2 Pakistani Soldiers

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has telephoned Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to apologize for the killing of two Pakistani soldiers this week near the Afghan border.

A Pakistani statement said Mr. Powell expressed his regrets over the incident and assured Pakistan that the United States considers Pakistan a key ally in the war on terror.

The foreign ministry statement said Mr. Powell informed the Pakistani leader that an inquiry is being launched to ascertain all details of the incident.

U.S. Central Command said the incident occurred Monday after a coalition patrol was fired on in Afghanistan's Paktia Province. The patrol called in air support against the attackers, who fled toward Afghanistan.

U.S. and Pakistani forces patrol the region, searching for al-Qaida and Taleban remnants.