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Pakistan army drastically cut down US troops

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, June 10, IRNA -- Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has been informed that the army has ‘drastically cut down the strength of US troops’ stationed in the country.

A lengthy press release, issued by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) after the 139th Corps Commanders Conference, said that the army had never accepted any training assistance from the US except for training on the newly inducted weapons and some training assistance for the Frontier Corps only.

“Even that has ceased now,” the statement said.

Earlier the army chief had announced a reduction in the number of the US military personnel in Pakistan.

The meeting of the top military commanders was given a comprehensive briefing with special reference to internal security, terrorism, role of media, society and all organs of the state to comprehensively address the ongoing challenges and military-to-military relationship with the US.

General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani chairing the conference said that any effort to create divisions between important institutions of the country was not in national interest.

The forum was informed by the army chief that economic rather than military aid, was more essential for Pakistan.

‘In line with the position taken in the Pak-US strategic dialogue in March 2010, it is being recommended to the government that the US funds meant for military assistance to the army, be diverted towards economic aid to Pakistan which can be used for reducing the burden on the common man’, added the statement.

“Under the head of Coalition Support Fund (CSF), against a total sum of $13 billion expected from the US, only $8.6 billion have been received by the Government of Pakistan. The government has further made available only $1.4 billion to the Army over last ten years. A relatively smaller amount has gone to Navy and PAF as well.

“The rest, ie approximately $6 billion, have been utilised by the Government of Pakistan for budgetary support, which ultimately means the people of Pakistan.”

The participants were also informed about the extent of intelligence cooperation with the US and it has been decided to share intelligence strictly on the basis of reciprocity and complete transparency.

“It has been clearly put across to the US intelligence officials that no intelligence agency can be allowed to carry out independent operation on our soil,” the statement said.

The army chief also called on the people of North Waziristan “to evict all foreigners from their soil and take charge of their land and destiny once again”.

General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani told the meeting that the army was following “a well thought out campaign plan and is under no pressure to carry out operations at a particular time”.

“Future operations, as and when undertaken, will be with political consensus.”

He emphasised that “it was wrong, in principle, to allow others to use our land for fighting their battles”. “This must not be allowed.”

He emphasized that it was wrong, in principle, to allow others to use Pakistani land for fighting their battles.

“This must not be allowed. The Army in North Waziristan is committed to supporting the people of in this effort”.

About the US drone strikes, he said the army has repeatedly conveyed to all concerned that these are not acceptable under any circumstances.

“The participants noted with regret that despite briefing the joint session of the Parliament and deferring the ultimate findings to the commission appointed by the government, some quarters, because of their perceptual biases, were trying to deliberately run down the Armed Forces and the Army in particular,” the statement said.

It cautioned that the campaign against the Army would be seen as an attempt to “drive a wedge” between the military, organs of the state and the nation. “Nothing should distract them (the troops) from the job at hand (fighting terrorism).”

While reviewing the internal security situation, the participants voiced their concern on the blowback of the Abbottabad incident which has resulted in the upsurge in terrorism and consequent loss of innocent lives.

Paying tributes to the resilience and sacrifices of valiant people of Pakistan, the participants assured the nation that the army would do its utmost and continue to sacrifice for the security and well-being of the people.

Pakistan’s internal situation is the most important factor and it cannot be relegated in priority.

Army leadership reaffirmed its resolve to continue supporting the democratic system without any preference to any particular political party.

It is also determined to lead the fight on terror in partnership with other law enforcement agencies and in line with the Constitution.

“It was concluded that all law enforcement agencies, though trying their best to cope with the situation, need to be more focused and proactive and Army will be there to extend all possible support”, said the statement.

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