Pakistan orders UK to withdraw military trainers

AP News
Posted: Jun 27, 2011 6:52 AM
Pakistan orders UK to withdraw military trainers

Pakistan has ordered Britain to withdraw some of its military training teams from the country, the British Embassy said Monday. The demand is likely related to fallout from the covert U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden last month.

Following the al-Qaida chief's death, Pakistan sent home at least 120 U.S. military trainers, an expression of the country's anger over the American operation, which was kept secret from the Pakistani government.

Relations between Pakistan and Britain tend to be less turbulent than with the U.S. But the Pakistani army has been under serious pressure to reassert the country's sovereignty in the wake of the May 2 raid that killed bin Laden in Abbottabad, an army town not far from the Pakistani capital.

"The U.K. has been asked to withdraw some of its training support teams on a temporary basis by the Pakistan government in response to security concerns," said British Embassy spokesman George Sherriff. "The training teams will continue their own training and will be ready to redeploy at the first possible opportunity."

The Pakistani military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The withdrawal was first reported by the British newspaper the Guardian on Sunday in conjunction with the U.K.-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The newspaper said Pakistan expelled at least 18 British military advisers, deployed as part of a 15 million pound ($23.9 million) program to train the paramilitary Frontier Corps.

The newspaper said the training program began last August and was scheduled to run until at least summer 2013. The trainers were stationed at a British-funded Frontier Corps base near Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's southwest province of Baluchistan.