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anne patterson
“Pakistan has begun to accept intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support from the US military for COIN operations,” Ms Patterson wrote. “In addition … intelligence fusion centers” had been established “at the headquarters of Frontier Corps and the 11th Corps and we expect at additional sites, including GHQ and the 12th Corps in Balochistan.” – Photo by AFP. (Thumbnail illustration by Faraz Aamer Khan/

KARACHI: Confidential American diplomatic cables obtained by Dawn reveal new details about the activities of US forces on the ground in Pakistan, an issue that has gained heightened sensitivity in the aftermath of the Raymond Davis incident in Lahore and the American raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad.

The reports reveal that US special operations forces were embedded with Pakistani troops for intelligence gathering by the summer of 2009 and deployed with them on joint operations in Pakistani territory by September that year.

“We have created Intelligence Fusion cells with embedded US Special Forces with both SSG and Frontier Corps (Bala Hisar, Peshawar) with the Rover equipment ready to deploy,” reported then US Ambassador Anne Patterson to the State Department in May 2009. “Through these embeds, we are assisting the Pakistanis collect and coordinate existing intelligence assets.”

At the time she noted that the US had “not been given Pakistani military permission to accompany the Pakistani forces on deployments as yet.”

By September, plans for the joint intelligence activities had been expanded to include army headquarters. “Pakistan has begun to accept intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support from the US military for COIN operations,” Ms Patterson wrote. “In addition … intelligence fusion centers” had been established “at the headquarters of Frontier Corps and the 11th Corps and we expect at additional sites, including GHQ and the 12th Corps in Balochistan.”

In April 2009, the cell at Bala Hisar assisted with the Pakistan military operation then taking place in Lower Dir. “US Special Operations Command Force are assisting the FC at the Intelligence Fusion Cell at FC Headquarters with imagery, target packages, and operational planning,” a cable written that month reveals.

Meanwhile, joint operations on the ground were also in the pipeline. One previously unpublished cable describes how a deployment with US forces in Pakistani territory was planned for April 2009 before being called off at the last minute.

“The 3rd Commando Group of the Pakistan Special Services Group (SSG) exploited the weakened state of the Taliban surrounding Daggar, the main city within Buner, to secure the city early on April 29,” the Islamabad embassy wrote.

“Although reported [earlier] that US officials would accompany the FC deployment to Daggar, a late-night decision on April 28 by the Pakistan Military General Headquarters (GHQ) denied the joint deployment, saying the FC had all the assets needed. Embassy will work with GHQ to determine the reason for the late change and to promote integrated operation support.”

Although the presence of US trainers has been publicly acknowledged, joint operations have not. Questions about American boots on the ground inflamed public sentiment after CIA operative Raymond Davis shot dead two Pakistanis in Lahore, and Senator John Kerry admitted on Monday that US troops levels had been reduced in response to a Pakistan military request in the aftermath of the bin Laden operation.

A number of the leaked reports reveal, however, that the US had been eager to embed American troops with Pakistanis soldiers.

“On a brighter note,” Ms Patterson wrote in a November 2009 cable, “there is the possibility that operations in the northern FATA may provide additional opportunities to embed US Special Operations Forces with FC units to provide ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] support and general operational guidance.

“If we can expand on what we have recently been doing in Bajaur Agency … with our embeds, it would be a significant opportunity to contribute to the pursuit of the TTP.”

The Bajaur operation with the FC that Ms Patterson refers to is likely one that took place in September 2009 and was described in an October 2009 cable previously published in the media, which also mentioned that US troops had been deployed in Wana in South Waziristan and Miram Shah in North Waziristan with the Pakistan Army’s 11th Corps and that the FC had requested a further deployment in Bajaur.

“Previously, the Pakistani military leadership adamantly opposed letting us embed our special operations personnel with their military forces,” the cable noted. “The recent approval by GHQ … appears to represent a sea change in Pakistani thinking.

“These deployments are highly politically sensitive … Should [they] receive any coverage in the Pakistani or US media, the Pakistani military will likely stop making requests for such assistance.”

Another previously published cable had described how, in a January 2009 meeting with Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, then CENTCOM commander Gen David Petraeus explained he “had given instructions that Special Operations Forces would be deployed regularly and constantly, and the US ‘needed to move their soldiers in here, so they could engage productively with the Frontier Corps.’

“Petraeus noted that the 11th Corps Chief of Staff Brigadier Amir was less cooperative with US forces, and Kayani took note of that.”

The cable does not clarify whether Gen Petraeus was referring to training or other activities.

Cables referenced: WikiLeaks # 207373, 226157, 204260, 204652, 236332. All cables can be viewed at

Comments (20) Closed

r. nixom May 21, 2011 07:47am
Pakistan is on sale
MAK May 21, 2011 08:45am
Why Pakistani politicians are making a big deal about Abbottabad incident ? US special army group has been working inside Pakistan for a long time.What is the point holding meeting with MPs in camera ? Obviously we knew about Abbottabad operation and conveniently ignored it. In the light of Wikileaks revelation,who can nation trust ?
UZ May 21, 2011 09:11am
Dear Nation, Please understand our politicians...i dont know whether these leaks are true or not..wht i feel is tht we shall not waste time to get back our country on track..its time to tame ourselves and uproot all the sins in our society...
Zubair Yaqub May 21, 2011 09:23am
Perhaps we should cut the military budget down to how much they are fighting for the country and let them get the rest from true masters. And I wonder what happened to the warning we will shoot drones down.... perhaps military cant lockon the drones with there equipment either.
dareen May 21, 2011 11:00am
Dear all, Let's get rid of the bombers and killers in our nation, to become a nation of law and order and respect.
Jehanzeb Idrees May 21, 2011 11:24am
No Musharaff lover here but for once he was right when he said that we didn't allow as much access to Yanks as perceived by the public and media. The surge in Drone attacks was almost none as compared to today and now its has been revealed that even US special forces or marines were not embedded during Mushy days. I am just wondering, was the in-camera session a fraud on behalf of Pakistan Army and ISI? INDEED. It sure was duplicity, a skit on the Pakistanis and ISI Chief Pasha's offer to resign was only to dramatize it further.
az May 21, 2011 11:28am
Zubair, Did you really believe that they will dare to shoot down the very drones flying from Pak territory. Expect another statement to the effect that we would not tolerate drone attacks in future.You need something like Ahmed Shah Abdali to fix this mess instead of spending big chunk of poor country's budget on defense. You and me are helpless but God solve it soon we hope.
Aftab Kenneth Wilson May 21, 2011 01:57pm
What is so strange about this news???? In one way or the other US troops and other operatives have been here on our soil from more than five decades. We need their aid and weapons so presence is imminent for the sake of functioning.
shahid iqbal May 21, 2011 02:22pm
Pakistani politicians and military leaders should learn to rule. the beauty of government is to keep inform the people and fight the response instead of hiding facts and depend on lies. now both political and military leadership are in quagmire they created themselves. there is 100 percent trust deficit. Nation is no more ready to trust them. Both Kayani and Zardari have lost credibility and confidence of the people. we are ashamed they are still there.
fazal May 21, 2011 05:20pm
you are right,pakistan is in the hands of traitors .It will break soon if nation doesnot standup to save this country
samar May 21, 2011 07:00pm
i agree with UZ we are all corrupt in one way or another. love each other unite and get rid of all the ills in the society.Pray to God.God helps those who help themselves
M. Asghar May 21, 2011 07:46pm
All of this leaked information shows nothing more than the sheer incompetence, lack of integrity and commitment of the political and military institutions of the land to looking after the national interests, when it is well known since years that that there is a determined geopolitical acrivity from outside to destablise the country.
aisha May 21, 2011 08:25pm
why Dawn has opened this Pandora box (wikkileaks ) in such critical time, Finally our PM made an effort to visit CHINA and asked for help, we can't afford to loose our government in such tough time otherwise our country will be very very weak and LIBIYA is good example for us. It's time to SUPPORT our government and the army.
Irum May 22, 2011 04:51am
Well the Pakistani army has finally sold the country. The top army leadership needs to resign otherwise Pakistan will be destroyed further.
gypsysnipe May 22, 2011 09:24pm
At this point maybe thats a good idea. We had to break an arm to get co-operation, since Pakistan has been exposed as a terror haven. God help us all..
Syed Adil May 23, 2011 08:15pm
Lets all pray for unity and the safeguard of our beloved homeland. Our state is in the hands of those people who don't have any sympathy, care and value of this small piece of land which is gifted by GOD after a lot of sacrifices. May ALLAH Almighty protect all of us and our Pakistan.
Ali Wazir May 24, 2011 02:41am
Our Military leadership has been thoroughly compromised. Who in there right mind thought this was a good Idea???.It increasing looks like our army is a paramilitary battalion of the US army. I predict we will soon declare war on Afghan Taliban and be involved in a very long battle in Afghanistan. Americans want our Army to do there Dirty work, kinda like Somalia all over again.
Rizwan May 24, 2011 08:11pm
well earlier i was thinking that present Army chief is good for country but now my mind changed totally,he is not at all good for country neither for army,he lacks agression which is the backbomne of any army chief,he looks quite lazy.
MS. Srki May 24, 2011 11:35pm
All this time we thought India was our enemy!!!
Hamid Muneer May 25, 2011 01:18am
UNfortunately, even India may not accept Pakistan to become part of India again. The time was lost in 1947 when a few stupid politicians decided to carve off a section of the motherland for their own personal reasons. Given the facts that Muslims were unprepared and incompetent to run their own affairs in an independent country, the thugs took over and Pakistan is now becoming an example for the entire world. A failed and un-managable country that lost more than half in 1971 due to its own pure stupidity, and now about to lose Baluchistan. Its honor, dignity, integrity and honor has long been vanished.