April 13, 2010
U.S. Special Operations Forces on a training mission in Pakistan are playing an expanded but largely unseen role in the country’s counterinsurgency campaign, working with paramilitary units to “hold and build” tribal areas as militants are cleared out.
U.S. defense and administration officials say the elite trainers, who currently number more than 100, have not and are not authorized to take part in Pakistani military offensives in the semi-autonomous tribal regions, known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA, along the Afghan border.
Pakistan has balked at U.S. offers of joint military operations there, officials said on condition of anonymity.
But Special Ops trainers play a bigger role than has been widely disclosed in helping Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Corps, such as surveying and coordinating projects aimed at winning “hearts and minds” and preventing Taliban fighters from returning to areas once they have been pushed out.
This article was posted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 10:51 am