UK training teams asked to leave Pakistan

Pakistan has ordered the United Kingdom to withdraw some of its military training teams from the country, the British Embassy said today.

The move is believed to be related to fallout from the covert US raid which killed Osama bin Laden last month.

Following the al-Qa'ida chief's death, Pakistan sent home at least 120 US military trainers, an expression of the country's anger over the American operation, which was kept secret from the Pakistani government.

Relations between Pakistan and the United Kingdom tend to be less turbulent than with the US, but the Pakistani army has been under pressure to reassert the country's sovereignty following the May 2 raid which killed bin Laden in Abbottabad, an army town not far from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

"The UK has been asked to withdraw some of its training support teams on a temporary basis by the Pakistan government in response to security concerns," said British Embassy spokesman George Sherriff.

"The training teams will continue their own training and will be ready to redeploy at the first possible opportunity."

The withdrawal was first reported by The Guardian yesterday. The newspaper said Pakistan expelled at least 18 British military advisers, deployed as part of a £15 million programme to train the paramilitary Frontier Corps.

The newspaper said the training programme began last August and was scheduled to run until at least summer 2013. The trainers were stationed at a British-funded Frontier Corps base near Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's south-west province of Baluchistan.

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