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Musharraf's Escort Chopper Crashes in Kashmir

An escort helicopter accompanying newly re-elected President Pervez Musharraf crashed in Kashmir, killing 4 of the twelve aboard.

The president's spokesman, retired Major-General Rashid Qureshi, was among eight injured in the crash, Arshad said.

The four killed included a brigadier, the two commandos, and a cameraman from state-run television.

"The engine backed up and because of that it immediately went down," Arshad said. "The pilot made a crash landing. Once he did that the rear portion of the helicopter caught fire."

Arshad said there would be an inquiry, but he doubted whether the helicopter had been sabotaged or attacked, as it would have been more likely to have exploded in the air.

That's the early report. It could well have been a mechanical failure or an accident, but all failures and accidents around and near Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan are suspect until proved otherwise, especially in the skies over Kashmir, a territory packed with well armed al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists.

If it turns out to be an actual attack on the helicopter, it would follow recent suit in attempts on Musharraf's life. In a recent July 2007 assassination attempt during the Lal Masjid standoff, Musharraf's plane took anti-aircraft machine gun fire from a rooftop near Islamabad shortly after takeoff.