US to train Pak Army to nail key militants

May 8th, 2008 - 7:15 pm ICT by admin  

Karachi, May 8 (ANI): Washington aims breach the gap between the US Army and Pakistani security forces in order to nail key targets like Osama bin Laden, as well as overcome military failures against the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan.

Plans include creating special Pakistani units, trained by Americans, to go after key figures.

“These programmes have already started and will continue at length. Already, many teams of US military officials have arrived in Pakistan and have started basic training courses,” the Asia Times Online quoted a senior Pakistani security official, as saying.

“Under these programmes, US Army officers will come to Pakistan and maintain a close liaison with middle-ranking army officers, including majors, colonels and brigadiers. Some officers will then be selected to go to the US, where they will be trained in special operations,” the official added.

Sources said that the conventional fight against insurgents - that is large deployment of the Pakistani Army in the Tribal Areas - will be set aside. In their place, newly trained special operations teams will go after irreconcilable militants.

The newly elected government in Islamabad at the same time will negotiate with the reconcilable elements, they said.

Pakistan is also to be given a new US aid package for its counter-terrorism efforts. The US Congress is soon to decide whether to triple non-military aid to seven billion dollars.

The training by the US of Pakistani special forces is based on Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte’s initiatives in Nicaragua and the Philippines, where indigenous armies were cultivated to further the US’s battles.

The reason for a new tactic in Pakistan is twofold. Firstly, the Pakistani Army does not have extensive training in counter-insurgency, especially with problems on its western borders, that is, Afghanistan. Secondly, the US considers it vital to bring its military closer to Pakistan.

Under the new plan, any reward money for taking out high-value targets will go directly into the pockets of middle- and junior-level officers, who will be at the heart of the special operations teams.

Previously, reward money has invariably ended up with the exchequer. This acted as a disincentive for cooperation in the “War on Terror”, especially for a military that traditionally has had a soft spot for the Taliban.

Sensing the new moves, Pakistani militants have unilaterally broken various ceasefire agreements with the authorities and carried out two deadly attacks against Pakistani security forces in the past few days. (ANI)

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