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Special Operations Command (Forward) - Pakistan (SOC [FWD] PAK)

The primary mission of Special Operations Command (Forward) - Pakistan (SOC [FWD] PAK) was to provide training and other support to the Pakistani military. In 2011, Pakistan expelled over 100 American military trainers tasked with training Pakistani troops, denied visas to American military equipment trainers, and put limits on visas for American personnel.

Special Operations Command (Forward) Pakistan was established circa late 2008 or early 2009 from what had been Special Operations Command and Control Element - Pakistan (SOCCE-PAK). SOCCE-PAK had previously overseen the foreign military assistance mission and other special operations activities in Pakistan.

In a meeting on 28 April 2009, senior leaders of the Pakistani Frontier Corps informed the SOC (FWD) PAK Chief that operations in Buner would begin on 29 April 2009, moving from Mardan en route to Daggar, the main city in Buner District. It was reported that SOC (FWD) PAK had been asked to assist operations with Rover and communication capabilities. At that time, US Government personnel had been staged at Frontier Corps Headquarters (Bala Hisar - Peshawar) and Pakistani Military and Frontier Corps officials planned to have a SOC (FWD) PAK officer deployed with them in their district headquarters in Daggar as the operations unfolded. Frontier Corps officials expected to be in Daggar for 1-2 days.

In a meeting on 1 May 2009 with the SOC (FWD) PAK Chief, the Pakistani Army's XI Corps Chief of Staff Brigadier General Riaz Aamar accepted a US offer to assist the XI Corps in establishing an intelligence fusion cell at their headquarters in Peshawar. SOC (FWD) PAK expected to start training on the various imagery and communications equipment for the designated operators as soon as senior XI Corps leadership officially approved the Cell.

In September 2009, 4 personnel assigned to SOC [FWD] PAK were embedded with the Frontier Corps at Khar Fort, in Bajaur Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). They provided intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support for a Frontier Corps operation. This support was determined to be highly successful, enabling the Frontier Corps to execute a precise and effective artillery strike on an enemy location. Previously, the Pakistani military leadership had adamantly opposed letting special operations personnel operate with their military forces, who were already deployed in a support capacity as part of SOC (FWD) PAK.

In October 2009, the Pakistan Army General Headquarters informed the US Office of Defense Representative, Pakistan (ODRP) that it approved a request from the Pakistani Army's XI Corps Commander, Lieutenant General Masood Aslam, for SOC (FWD) PAK personnel to deploy to Wana, South Waziristan and Miram Shah, North Waziristan, in the FATA, in order to provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support and general operational advice to the XI Corps' 9th and 7th Divisions. The XI Corps had informally approached ODRP about providing such support approximately one week prior to the approval and ODRP responded positively.

SOC (FWD) PAK support to the Pakistani Army's XI Corps was to be at the division-level and would include a live downlink of unmanned aerial vehicle full motion video. SOC (FWD) PAK's initial concept of operations envisioned deployment of 6 personnel each to Wana and Miram Shah. In order to finalize the planning and obtain a formal go-ahead from US Central Command (CENTCOM), ODRP requested additional information on the timing and purpose of the XI Corps' planned military operations from Brigadier General Amjad Shabbir, the Pakistani Army's Director General of Military Operations (DGMO).

Also in October 2009, the Frontier Corps informally approached ODRP for a repeat deployment of SOC (FWD) PAK personnel to their fort in Khar. SOC (FWD) PAK subsequently prepared a concept of operations while the Frontier Corps obtains approval from the Pakistani Army's GHQ.




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