US says return of officers to Pakistan significant
WASHINGTON, June 1: Pakistan’s decision to allow two US military officials to return to a liaison post is a “sign of improving coordination between the United States and Pakistan”, reports the American Forces Press Service.
The story, posted prominently on the front page of the official Pentagon website, quotes spokesman Navy Capt John Kirby as saying that the two officers returned to Pakistan recently at the request of the Pakistani government.
Earlier, Capt Kirby told a news briefing at the Pentagon that there were no US military trainers in Pakistan. “A couple of liaison officers, from the US Regional Command East, Bagram, have returned to the area around Peshawar to coordinate and continue
to liaise with the 11th Corps headquarters there at the Pakistani military.”
The 11th Corps’ area of responsibility includes the border region that matches up with the US Regional Command East on the Afghanistan side.
Asked what was the purpose or the significance of this new development, Capt Kirby said: “It’s significant in that, as we’ve been talking about all along.”
He noted that the tactical and operational coordination between the Isaf and the Pakistani military was getting better, “in fits and starts to be sure, but it is getting better, and this is another example of how that coordination is going to continue to improve’.
Aware of the sensitivities attached to US military postings in Pakistan, the Pentagon official explained that there had been no increase in the number of US liaison officers in that country. “It’s the same number of liaison officers we had before … and the whole purpose is to increase and improve communication between the two militaries along that border,” he said.
There were no liaison officers anywhere else in Pakistan, he added.