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Pakistan gets first delivery of F-16 fighter jets from U.S.

By the CNN Wire Staff

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- The first three of an order totaling 18 American F-16 fighter jets arrived Saturday in Pakistan in the latest effort between the two countries to fight terrorism, according to the Pakistani Air Force.

The jets were delivered to the Shahbaz Air Base in Jacobabad by Pakistani pilots who recently completed training in the United States to fly the aircraft, the PAF said in a statement.

The United States agreed in 2005 to sell the high-tech aircraft to Pakistan to upgrade its aging fleet. The newer model jet provides the Pakistani Air Force the ability to conduct night operations, the statement said.

U.S. and Pakistani officials have said the F-16s are used to fly missions over regions near Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, where the Taliban are operating and al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding.

The delivery of all 18 aircraft will be completed by the end of 2010, the PAF said.