Pakistan has expelled a team of British military trainers sent to help with the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, a continuation of the fallout from the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
Britain's Defense Ministry confirmed that at least 18 military advisers, deployed to the southern province of Baluchistan as part of a $24 million program to train the 60,000-strong paramilitary Frontier Corps — a paramilitary force on the frontline of the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the north-west — have been withdrawn.
"The U.K. has been asked to withdraw some of its training support teams on a temporary basis by the Pakistan government in response to security concerns," the Associated Press quoted British Embassy spokesman George Sherriff as saying. "The training teams will continue their own training and will be ready to redeploy at the first possible opportunity."
Since bin Laden's death at the hands of a Navy SEAL team in Abbottabad on May 2, which was conducted without Islamabad's consent, Pakistan has sent home more than two thirds of the 135 U.S. soldiers training its paramilitary border forces, The Telegraph reports.
According to the Guardian, "the embattled [Pakistan] army, stung by a barrage of public criticism, is keen to demonstrate its independence from all Western allies."
The British training scheme was begun last August and scheduled to run until at least summer 2013. In an email statement, a spokeswoman said the trainers had been withdrawn "on a temporary basis" at the request of the Pakistani government in response to "security concerns," the Guardian reports.
"The training teams will continue their own training and will be ready to redeploy at the first possible opportunity," she told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.