LONDON: Pakistan has expelled a team of British military trainers sent to help with the fight against the Taliban and Al-Qaida, as the fallout from the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden continues to rock relations between Islamabad and its western allies, a UK newspaper reported.
The Ministry of Defence confirmed that at least 18 military advisers, deployed as part of a £15m programme to train the paramilitary Frontier Corps, have been withdrawn from Pakistan. Most are already back in the UK.
Their removal is seen as an indirect casualty of worsening relations between Pakistan and the US over the 2 May Navy Seal raid in Abbottabad, which was conducted without Pakistani consent.
Since Bin Laden’s death, Pakistan has sent home at least 120 US military trainers, most of whom were engaged in training the FC. The British team, a mix of seasoned officers and NCOs, had been stationed at a British-funded FC base near the capital of Balochistan, Quetta.
The training scheme began last August and was scheduled to run until at least summer 2013. The MoD hopes to redeploy the team once the tensions abate.
In an email statement, a spokeswoman said the trainers had been withdrawn “on a temporary basis” at the request of the Pakistani government in response to “security concerns”.