Pakistan on Thursday denied reports of the United States sending military trainers back into Pakistan to instruct Frontier Corps (FC) trainers in counter-insurgency warfare. The statement was backed up later by a Pentagon spokesperson.
According to an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) spokesperson, the report released by the foreign media is “incorrect”.
The report had said that fewer than 10 US special operations soldiers have been sent to a training site near Peshawar.
“It is not true. American trainers have not returned to Pakistan,” a senior Pakistani military official told Reuters.
The Pakistani official declined to comment when asked why he thought a US official was saying US trainers had returned.
The number of American military instructors in Pakistan dropped to zero after an attack on a check post killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in late November. Nato labelled the border incident an accident but it enraged Pakistanis and sent already tense ties with the United States into a tailspin.
A US official on condition of anonymity had said, “There’s a lot more we want to do to improve it, but (the trainers’ return) is an important sign that at least in some areas we’re getting a healthy sense of normalcy.”
Two liaisons to be based in Peshawar
Pentagon spokesperson Captain John F. Kirby told media on Thursday that there are no military trainers currently in Pakistan, but said that two liaison officers have been stationed in Peshawar recently for border coordination.
The Pentagon spokesperson was responding to a story published by Reuters on Wednesday that said US military trainers had returned to Pakistan. He said that the two liaison officers will report to the Regional Command East headquarters in Afghanistan to meet with their counterparts in Peshawar.
The Pentagon spokesperson said that their purpose was to increase co-operation between the two military forces on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. “Tactical and operational co-operation is getting better,” said the Pentagon spokesperson, and cited the recent visit as an example of that. He added that the US does not have an agreement right now with Pakistan to send trainers. “The small number of trainers that were there earlier was at Pakistan's request.”
In response to a question, Captain Kirby said that there had been no movement on the matter of reopening the NATO supply routes.
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