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US military personnel reduce presence in Pakistan

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, June 10 ,IRNA -- The United States embassy said on Friday that the number of United States military personnel in Pakistan has been reduced following a request from the government of Pakistan.

We recently received a written request from the Government of Pakistan to reduce the number of US military personnel here, and we have nearly completed that reduction,” said Vice Adm. Michael LeFever, Chief of the Office of the Defense Representative-Pakistan.

The statement came a day after Pakistan's top military commanders were informed that the army has ‘drastically cut down the strength of US troops’ stationed in the country.

Top army commanders were told 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.

“We’ve been honored to partner with the Pakistan military and we believe our service members here provide excellent support to Pakistan’s military in the fight against violent extremists,” said Vice Adm. Michael LeFever, in a statement.

US military personnel in Pakistan include trainers who work with Pakistani security forces.

The total number of US military forces in Pakistan is determined at the request of and in conjunction with the government and military of Pakistan, the embassy statement said.

When the Government of Pakistan requests assistance, the US remains ready to help with the security requirements of Pakistan, said LeFever.

The Pakistan army said the commanders’ meeting was also informed by the Army Chief that military to military relationship with the US has to be viewed within the larger ambit of bilateral relations between the two countries.

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 US intelligence officials that no intelligence agency can be allowed to carry out independent operation on our soil,” the statement said.

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