A 2009 cable released by Wikileaks confirms that the Pakistani army for the second time approved deployment of US special operation elements to support Pakistani military operations.
In a comment written to Washington, former US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson stated that these deployments are “highly politically sensitive” because of widely-held concerns among the public about Pakistani sovereignty and opposition to allowing foreign military forces to operate in any fashion on Pakistani soil.
The cable sent to Washington by Patterson states that the first deployment, with elements embedded with the Frontier Corps in Bajaur Agency, occurred in September 2009 and “was highly successful, enabling the FC to execute a precise and effective artillery strike on an enemy location.”
It said that US Special operations forces support to Pakistan military would be at the division-level and would include a live downlink of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) full motion video.
She writes “should these developments and/or related matters receive any coverage in the Pakistani or US media, the Pakistani military will likely stop making requests for such assistance.”
Patterson acknowledged that the Pakistani military leadership previously opposed letting the US embed special operations personnel with their military forces. It reads “the developments of the past two months thus appear to represent a sea change in their thinking.”
US military personnel are known to be training the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary force in Warsak, Peshawar, Tarbela and Shahbaz Airbase. US officials in Islamabad have previously stated that they were in regular contact with Pakistan’s military leadership to enhance cooperation between the two forces rather than simply withdrawing its top officers from Pakistan.
In the 2009 cable, Patterson noted that the approval by GHQ – which she wrote was “almost certainly with the personal consent of Chief of Army Staff General Kayani” shows that Pakistanis are increasingly confident that the American government does not have ulterior motives in assisting their operations. In addition, she noted that the direct recipients of US special operations personnel training appear to have recognised the potential benefits of bringing US special operation forces personnel into the field with them for operational advice and other support.
US recalls troops from Pakistan soil
An earlier report published in The Express Tribune stated that according to a top Pakistani military official, as many as 160 US soldiers had left Pakistan after the Abbottabad operation in May. However, he did not confirm the number stated by Pakistani officials, saying, “Over 200 US military personnel are still working here.”
Pakistan had formally asked the Pentagon to recall its men soon after the killing of al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in unilateral American raid in the garrison city of Abbottabad.
The strong stance comes in the aftermath of a resolution passed during a joint session of parliament, which focused on revisiting the country’s policy regarding the war on terror, officials said.
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