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article imageU.S. To Train Pakistani Forces in COIN Warfare Special

By Christopher Szabo     May 3, 2009 in World
The United States and Pakistan have signed a little-known agreement whereby the U.S. will train Pakistani soldiers in counterinsurgency (COIN) warfare and supply them with long-requested special equipment.
In November last year, members of the Pakistan military told a visiting media delegation from South Africa that despite repeated requests, they were not receiving night vision equipment from the U.S.
A broadcast editor from the media group, Amina Frense, told Digital Journal the Pakistanis complained that they needed the goggles for their patrols on the border with Afghanistan, because insurgents often crossed into Pakistan at night. The Pakistani military expressed the concern that the Americans did not trust them, and thought the sensitive night-vision equipment might fall into the wrong hands.
Now, according to the L.A. Times, an agreement has been reached between the two countries. The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael G. Mullen, who visited Pakistan recently, met the Pakistani Chief of the Armed Services (COAS) General Ashfaq Kayani and, according to the newspaper, tried to impress upon him the urgency of the situation within Pakistan.
The Times said: “Although it is not clear what Mullen offered Kayani, he did outline Washington's plans to dramatically ramp up aid.”
The U.S. military is now prepared to pay for new helicopters — necessary for quick movement of troops in a counterinsurgency war — the requested night-vision goggles, more effective small arms and up to 400 million dollars for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund.
The Pakistan Army is still using outdated Belgian FN and Soviet-era Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles, as well as outdated transport helicopters. While some of its equipment is modern, there is no uniformity across the services, which causes logistical problems. The L.A. Times quoted a senior American defence official:
You have a Pakistani military that is battle weary. Their equipment is aged and not effective for the fight they are in.
At present, according to various reports, there are only about 70 American Special Operations soldiers training the Pakistan Army but no agreement has been reached on where further training is to be held, although the report says it will be outside Pakistan.
South African editor Amina Frense In Islamabad
Broadcast Editor Amina Frense meets the director of Pakistan's Inter-Services Public Relations, Major-General Athar Abbas in Islamabad.
Janet Szabo
Another sign of closer cooperation on defence issues between the U.S. and Pakistan, is the fear of Taliban encroachment on the capital, Islamabad, which saw recent fighting within 100 kilometres of the city. Reuters quotes a senior Pakistani official:
The national mood is changing. People got scared, which is good. Getting scared is good.
The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S Defense Secretary Richard Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking before the Senate Appropriations Committee this week, had praised Pakistan for its operation against the Taliban in
Buner.
And according to the leading Pakistani daily, Dawn, at least 80 Taliban members, including one of the leaders of the banned organisation TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan) have been killed in the offensive in Buner and neighbouring Lower Dir district in the most recent fighting.
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