Wednesday, April 14, 2010

US Troops See ‘Expanded Role’ in Pakistan

Pentagon Pushes for $10 Million ‘Pool’ for Funding

by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, April 13, 2010

Despite an official prohibition at taking any part in Pakistan’s assorted military offensives, the US Special Forces in the nation have continued to expand the definition of “training operations” until now they are overseeing the combat in several areas.

The training mission was originally supposed to be so limited that they weren’t supposed to even train troops directly, they were supposed to train Pakistani trainers who would pass the information along to the paramilitary forces in FATA. Even this was controversial at the time.

But now, the US troops are taking part in “hold and build” operations in FATA, coordinating the operations of the various Pakistani military and civilian authorities in the region.

The Pentagon is now said to be seeking the creation of a $10 million pool for the “trainers” in the nation, to be used for discretionary “hearts and minds” spending, likely mostly on humanitarian aid projects.

But US troops are already showing up in some odd places considering their extremely limited mission. In February three US soldiers were killed in a bombing in the Swat Valley, when the troops were attending a school opening in the area. These photo-op visits are likely to become more and more common as the US presence in the nation grows.

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