Retraining Pakistan's army to fight the Taliban

LA Times:

The Pakistani government has agreed to allow the U.S. a greater role in training its military, part of an accord that will also send counterinsurgency equipment to help Islamabad step up its offensive against militants.


The Pakistani operation included using heavy artillery, helicopters and fighter jets to strike Taliban positions in the mountains beyond Islamabad. But U.S. officials fear that those tactics will be ineffective or could backfire by inflicting civilian casualties. The U.S. military would like to see Pakistan's military move in light infantry or commando units.

Over the long term, the U.S. military believes training the Pakistanis for that kind of combat is critical for countering the Taliban threat.

But so far Pakistan has only allowed in about 70 U.S. special operations trainers, an effort the American military has long been anxious to expand.

The new agreement would have the U.S. military train Pakistani officers outside Pakistan. The Pentagon has offered to train the Pakistanis in the U.S., but a senior Obama administration official said the location of the additional training had not been finalized.

"The issue now is, how do you do it? Where do you do it?" the senior administration official said. "We are responding to the Pakistani military's request."

Until now the U.S. has focused on creating commando forces that can conduct raids and counterinsurgency operations effectively.

"They [the Pakistani military] are struggling to come to grips with the fact that the threat is really within and it is really a threat they helped build and now it has turned against them," the senior Defense official said.

As I have pointed out in other post, Pakistan's reluctance for US troops to train theirs in Pakistan is absurd. It lacks any rationale other than Pakistan pride. Since they have so little to be proud of in their handling of the Taliban at this point it makes even less sense.

Their need for counterinsurgency training seems obvious. They should not be putting obstacles in the way of getting that training.


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