Rejecting reports in the media that suggested the contrary, the Pentagon on Monday confirmed that US military advisers were training the Pakistani Frontier Corps improve on their counter-insurgency techniques to combat Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters, and clarified that the operations were “no secret.”
The clarifications came in wake of a report in the New York Times that suggested the US military was conducting ‘secret’ training sessions for Pakistani troops.
While briefing the media in Washington on Monday Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said: “The training effort with the (Pakistan) Frontier Corps is not a secret.”
“We’ve talked about it on the record for several months,” added Whitman and informed correspondents that some 30 advisers are involved in the training program, which was designed to “help the Frontiers Corps develop its own training program in counter-insurgency techniques.”
Whitman, however, refused co comment on whether or not the training contingent had been drawn mainly from the US Army Special Forces, as reported by the newspaper.
He put the total number of US military personnel in Pakistan at under a 100, including the trainers.
Accepting one of the contentions made by NYT, Whitman said the US “shares” militant related information with Islamabad.
NYT in an editorial posted Sunday claimed that a crack Frontier Corps unit has used information provided by the CIA and other sources to kill or capture nearly 60 militants in the past seven months, including top rebel commanders.
Whitman’s rejection of the reports may bring respite to the US Department of Defense, but might touch off the Taliban in Pakistan’s restive north-west, where a recent ceasefire between the government and the Taliban is still extremely fragile.