The Guardian is reporting that the United States will deploy military advisers to Pakistan.
The United States will send dozens of military advisers to Pakistan to train soldiers who are fighting extremist groups in the country’s restive tribal areas, it emerged today, the first meaningful deployment of American troops in the country.
After weeks of negotiations between the US and Pakistan’s new army chief of staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, a squad of American trainers will arrive later this year to teach soldiers how to handle counter insurgency operations, rather than a conventional land war against India.
I do not see this ending well.
According to the article, the mission could last until 2015 and may eventually allow the advisers to be part of operations alongside Pakistani troops:
Although the original plan sees a deployment that stretches until 2015, the current forecast is that the trainers will be in Pakistan for up to two years. Initially the US military advisers would not be allowed out of their training camps. However, a widely discussed 40-page memo circulating in Washington eventually sees US troops accompanying Pakistani soldiers on missions against the militants.
According to The New York Times, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, has arrived in Pakistan to, as the NY Times puts it: “emphasize America’s eagerness”.
Admiral Mullen said the United States was willing to offer assistance for such things as training, transport helicopters and night-combat operations, but stressed that he was carrying no specific proposals on this visit and would await formal requests from Pakistan’s military.
According to the NY Times, The United States has spent nearly $25 million to outfit the Pakistani Frontier Corps and now plans to spend $75 million more on them this year. The Bush administration believe the U.S. will spend “$400 million over the next several years to help the Frontier Corps enhance its combat capabilities.”
At the start of the deployment, the Associate Press reports:
Twenty-two U.S. trainers will arrive in “drips and drabs” this year and could be in place as soon as June or as late as October, the military official said on condition he not be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.
“Drips and drabs” certainly inspires confidence in a well thought out plan with extra concern being placed on what long-term consequences an American deployment of troops to Pakistan might bring. But, given the Bush administration’s track record for planning, I’m sure that things will work out horribly for the United States in the end.
The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad suggests the advisers mission will be only for two years and will “assist Pakistan military officials who will then do the actual training of the Frontier Corps” and that 8,500 Pakistani soldiers will “benefit” the U.S. training.
But the Pentagon’s goal seems to be, according to the NY Times that eventually 100 American soldiers will be sent to Pakistan.
But one American plan described by senior officials and now under review by the United States military’s Central Command would send about 100 troops to help train the Frontier Corps, a Pakistani paramilitary force that both nations describe as the vanguard in the fight against Al Qaeda and Taliban groups in the restive tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.
I’ve never fully understood why we in the United States send weapons and trainers to parts of the world where we don’t really know who is on our side and why they are allied to us. When has this tactic ever worked out for us in the end?
No, I do not see this new troop deployment ending well for the United States at all.