US Troops Reportedly in Pakistan

Last week, the New York Times reported that an American military unit is operating in the tribal regions of Pakistan in cooperation with the Pakistani military.  ( The report is based on information provided by anonymous US and Pakistani officials.  They say that the unit consists of more than 70 military advisers and technical specialists who are performing training, intelligence gathering and advisory missions.  They also claim that US troops are not engaged in combat operations.



Although it is not surprising that there are US special operations forces working in Pakistan, it is surprising that officials from either country would disclose such information to the press.  The Times reporters claim that the officials were trying to show that US airstrikes inside Pakistan, which have caused civilian casualties, have not prevented the two nations from cooperating on anti-terrorism issues.  Perhaps the Obama administration or the US military wants to ward off pressure to stop the airstrikes, and maybe the Pakistani government wants to show that it is a close ally in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.  However, given the rising level of anti-American sentiment in Pakistan and the fragility of the newly elected government there, the disclosure could potentially contribute to political instability in that volatile region and ultimately be counterproductive.


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