Pakistan orders some US military trainers to leave: WP
WASHINGTON – Pakistan has ordered up to 20 per cent of the US Special Operations forces trainers to leave the country in the wake of a series of clashes between the two governments, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
Citing an unnamed US military official, the newspaper said in a dispatch that between 25 and 30 trainers were “told to leave” in the weeks before the U.S. commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden this month, in response to an earlier incident involving a CIA employee who shot and killed two Pakistanis in Lahore.
Since bin Laden, who had evaded capture for a decade, was killed on May 2 in a top-secret US unilateral military operation in Abbottabad, relations between the two countries have become even more frayed.
The Obama administration has asked pointed questions about bin Laden’s support system in Pakistan, and the Pakistanis assert that US raiders violated their sovereignty, it said.
Meanwhile, leaked confidential American diplomatic cables say that U.S. special forces were embedded with Pakistani troops on intelligence-gathering missions by the summer of 2009.
The disclosure comes a day after another set of cables claimed that Pakistan Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani not only tacitly agreed to the covert U.S. drone campaign against militants, but asked for “continuous Predator coverage” of the tribal areas by these aircraft. The army denied the contents.
The published dispatches from WikiLeaks also reveal that U.S. special operations forces were deployed with Pakistani troops in joint operations in Pakistan by September of 2009.
“Through these embeds, we are assisting the Pakistanis collect and coordinate existing intelligence assets, the cables quoted then American ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson as saying.
Pakistan’s powerful military faced rare criticism after the unilateral raid that killed bin Laden.
The infuriated army said the assault, which has severely strained ties between the two countries, was a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. But Pakistanis politicians and media lashed out at the generals because they did not know about the raid.