US to reduce its troops from Pakistan: Pentagon

US to reduce its troops from Pakistan: Pentagon

"We were recently (within past two weeks) notified in writing that the government of Pakistan wished for the US to reduce its footprint in Pakistan. Accordingly, we have begun those reductions," Colonel Dave Lapan, Pentagon spokesman said yesterday.

There are more than 200 US military personnel in Pakistan -- all assigned to the Office of the Defence Representative - Pakistan (ODR-P).
"The size of the US military presence is a function of the amount and type of training and equipping required to meet the Pakistani government's requests and requirements," Lapan said.

"If we can expand on what we have recently been doing in Bajaur Agency…with our embeds, it would be a significant opportunity to contribute to the pursuit of the TTP," she said. The Bajaur operation with the Frontier Corps that Patterson referred to is likely one that was conducted in September 2009 and was described in an October 2009 cable previously published in the media.

That cable also mentioned that US troops were deployed at Wana in South Waziristan and Miranshah in North Waziristan with the Pakistan Army's 11th Corps and that the Frontier Corps had requested a further deployment in Bajaur. "Previously, the Pakistani military leadership adamantly opposed letting us embed our special operations personnel with their military forces...The recent approval by GHQ … appears to represent a sea change in Pakistani thinking," the cable said.

"These deployments are highly politically sensitive....Should [they] receive any coverage in the Pakistani or US media, the Pakistani military will likely stop making requests for such assistance," it said. Another previously published cable described how, in a January 2009 meeting with army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, then US Central Command chief Gen David Petraeus explained he "had given instructions that Special Operations Forces would be deployed regularly and constantly, and the US 'needed to move their soldiers in here, so they could engage productively with the Frontier Corps'".

However, a deployment of US forces in Pakistani territory planned for April 2009 was called off at the last minute, according to another cable.
"The 3rd Commando Group of the Pakistan Special Services Group (SSG) exploited the weakened state of the Taliban surrounding Daggar, the main city within Buner (district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa), to secure the city early on April 29," the cable from the US Embassy in Islamabad said. "Although reported [earlier] that US officials would accompany the FC deployment to Daggar, a late-night decision on April 28 by the Pakistan Military General Headquarters (GHQ) denied the joint deployment, saying the FC had all the assets needed. Embassy will work with GHQ to determine the reason for the late change and to promote integrated operation support."

In the wake of the May 2 US raid that killed bin Laden in the garrison city of Abbottabad, the Pakistani military decided to reduce the US troop presence in the country to the minimum.

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