SPECIAL OPS

Pakistan Warms to U.S. Troops

U.S. Special Operations Forces have increased their role in Pakistan to defeat Islamist militants in an area that has been restricted to U.S. ground troops. The goal of the mission will be to aid local forces and determine the security risks, and U.S. troops will reportedly wear civilian clothes and only be allowed to discharge their weapons if they are attacked first. Pakistan has long avoided U.S. military presence—despite reports that wanted Islamic militants were within their borders—and the country has requested the U.S. keep a low profile. Pakistan has gradually allowed U.S. Special Operations Forces in since the first 30 troops were allowed in June 2008, and now there are around 120 trainers in the country, with the goal of winning over tribal leaders with development projects. Congress recently approved $10 million for aid missions in Pakistan, and one congressional staffer said "the goal is never to have a U.S. footprint on any of these efforts."