Pakistan Expels British Trainers

Posted June 27th, 2011 at 8:50 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistan has asked Britain to pull out some of its military trainers, a demand that follows last month's killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. special forces.

A spokesman for the British embassy in Islamabad, George Sheriff, said Monday that the Pakistani government had requested the temporary withdrawal of some of Britain's training support teams due to “security concerns.” He did not elaborate.

The withdrawal was first reported by the Guardian on Sunday. The British newspaper said at least 18 British military advisers were being expelled from Pakistan. The daily said the trainers were part of a $24-million program to train the paramilitary Frontier Corps in the southwestern province of Baluchistan.

The Guardian said the trainers were deployed to Pakistan last August and were scheduled to remain there until 2013.

The withdrawal of some of the British trainers follows confirmation from U.S. military officials last week that the majority of the U.S. trainers sent to Pakistan to help its military with counterterrorism have left the country at Pakistan's request. Pakistani officials, who refused to be named, said about 90 of the approximately 130 U.S. trainers had been sent home.

Relations between Pakistan and the West have further deteriorated after the U.S. military raid that killed bin Laden in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad on May 2. Pakistani leaders criticized the operation as a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and warned against future unilateral actions.