Leaks reveal U.S. forces in Pakistan units

May 21, 2011 at 12:43 PM
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KARACHI, Pakistan, May 21 (UPI) -- U.S. forces have been embedded with Pakistani units, diplomatic cables published Saturday reveal.

The 2009 messages from Anne Patterson, then the U.S. ambassador in Islamabad, to the State Department were released by WikiLeaks and published in Pakistan's Dawn newspaper.

The presence of U.S. trainers with the Pakistani military has been openly acknowledged, but not joint operations. The revelation comes at a tense point in relations following the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad.

The cables show American special operations fighters were working with the Pakistanis to gain intelligence by the summer of 2009 and carried out joint operations by that September.

"Pakistan has begun to accept intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support from the U.S. military for COIN [counterinsurgency] operations," Patterson wrote in the fall. "In addition … intelligence fusion centers" had been set up.

One joint operation in the spring was called off by the Pakistanis at the 11th hour, she wrote.

But in November 2009, the ambassador wrote: "Previously, the Pakistani military leadership adamantly opposed letting us embed our special operations personnel with their military forces. The recent approval by GHQ [general headquarters] … appears to represent a sea change in Pakistani thinking."

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