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Kerry: Pakistan to return tail of chopper used in bin Laden raid

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Can U.S. hit Pakistan 'reset' button?
  • "That's step number one. Other steps that will take place immediately," Kerry says
  • Kerry: Osama bin Laden, not the United States, violated Pakistan's sovereignty
  • There is no need for the United States to apologize for the bin Laden raid, he says
  • But it is important to mend the Pakistan-U.S. relationship, he says

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan will return the tail of a U.S. helicopter Tuesday that was damaged during the raid that killed terror leader Osama bin Laden, a move that is part of a process to improve cooperation between the two nations, Sen. John Kerry said.

The helicopter crashed during the raid on the al Qaeda leader's compound May 2.

"I can tell you, an example, tomorrow the tail of the helicopter will be returned to America and we'll take possession of that in a coordinated operation that will take place with them," Kerry, D- Massachusetts, told reporters Monday during a visit to Islamabad. "That's step number one. And there are other steps that will take place immediately."

The one major problem for the Navy SEALs who killed bin Laden was the crash of the helicopter.

In photos of what was left after the SEAL team tried to destroy the aircraft, numerous aviation experts say they saw several telltale signs of stealth technology.

"Had this particular helicopter not crashed, we still would have no idea of its existence," said Gareth Jennings, the aviation desk editor for Jane's Defence Weekly.

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The helicopter was left on the ground at the al Qaeda leader's compound during the raid, although the SEALs were able to destroy much of the main body when it became clear it couldn't fly.

But the tail rotor assembly came down on the other side of the compound wall and was left largely intact when the SEALs finished their mission.

Pakistani troops were seen hauling the wreckage away on trucks covered with tarps.

In his remarks Monday, Kerry said the United States need not apologize to Pakistan for the successful raid that killed bin Laden. But, he said, it is important that the countries find a way to mend their frayed relationship in the wake of the attack.

Kerry said his goal in visiting was to begin a process that would leave the United States and Pakistan in a position where "isolated episodes, no matter how profound, do not jeopardize the relationships between our countries."

But he said Pakistan must choose between being a haven for extremists or a tolerant democracy and that the United States is willing to help the country.

"Our progress in the days ahead will be measured by actions, not words," he said.

Although many in Pakistan have accused the United States of violating Pakistani sovereignty by launching a unilateral military attack inside the country, Kerry said Pakistanis should direct their ire at bin Laden and his legion of foreign fighters, who he said were responsible for thousands of deaths inside Pakistan.

The Pakistani parliament recently condemned the raid, adopting a resolution calling for a review of its counter-terrorism cooperation agreement with the United States. The resolution also ordered the immediate end of drone attacks in a tribal region of Pakistan near the Afghan border.

Kerry said he was pleased Pakistan officials have committed to finding new ways to work on the terror threat and increased cooperation on joint operations and intelligence sharing, but did not elaborate on the steps to be taken.

He said two senior administration officials would soon visit the country to expand on the work. That visit would be followed by another featuring U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Kerry said.