Number of US troops in Pakistan reduced on Pakistan’s request

JNN  10 June 2011 ISLAMABAD — The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan said on Friday that the number of the U.S. military personnel in the country has been reduced following a request from Pakistan.

“We recently received a written request from the Government of Pakistan to reduce the number of U.S. military personnel here, and we have nearly completed that reduction,” said Vice Admiral Michael LeFever, Chief of the Office of the Defense Representative- Pakistan.

The statement came a day after Pakistan’s top military commanders were informed that the army has “drastically cut down the strength of U.S. troops” stationed in the country.

Top army commanders were told that the Army had never accepted any training assistance from the U.S. except for training on the newly-inducted weapons and some training assistance for the Frontier Corps only.

“We’ve been honored to partner with the Pakistan military and we believe our service members here provide excellent support to Pakistan’s military in the fight against violent extremists,” Michael LeFever said in a statement.

The U.S. military personnel in Pakistan include trainers who work with Pakistani security forces. The total number of U.S. military forces in Pakistan is determined at the request of and in conjunction with the government and military of Pakistan, the statement said.

When the Government of Pakistan requests assistance, the U.S. remains ready to help with the security requirement of Pakistan, said LeFever.

The Pakistan army said the commanders’ meeting was also informed by the Army Chief that military-to-military relationship with the U.S. has to be viewed within the larger ambit of bilateral relations between the two countries.

The participants were also informed about the extent of intelligence cooperation with the U.S. and it has been decided to share intelligence strictly on the basis of reciprocity and complete transparency.

“It has been clearly put across to U.S. intelligence officials that no intelligence agency can be allowed to carry out independent operation on our soil,” the military statement said.

Pakistan was angered by unilateral U.S. raid that killed elusive al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden on May 2 in Pakistan.

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