Friday, June 3, 2011

Pakistan to expel US military advisors

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen

Source: Press TV

US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen says Pakistan is to reduce sharply the number of US military trainers stationed in the country.

Mullen, the US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declined to offer figures on plans to cut the military mission, but said he saw “a very significant cutback."

He also acknowledged that ties between Washington and Islamabad reached a new low after the alleged killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by US forces on Pakistani soil.

"There clearly is an ongoing contraction of that support and it is tied to the difficult time we are going through," Mullen told defense reporters in Washington.

"We're going through a pretty tough time right now and that's going to continue," he said.

The administration of US President Barack Obama is divided over the future of its relations with Pakistan.

Obama claimed that bin Laden was killed by US forces on May 1 in a hiding compound in Pakistan.

Some White House officials suggest that Islamabad was aware of bin Laden's location, demanding a strong response.

Others, however, believe any retaliatory measure will jeopardize Pakistan's help which they describe as crucial to the US military operations in Afghanistan.

Pakistani lawmakers have recently passed a resolution condemning the US raid inside Pakistan that allegedly killed bin Laden, demanding a review of ties with the US and other Western countries.

The resolution also called for an independent probe into the raid, which the Parliament called a unilateral action and a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty.

It warned that the repetition of such attacks could have dire consequences for peace and security in the region and the world.

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