Pakistan has expelled a team of British military trainers sent to help with the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaida.
The Defence Ministry confirmed that at least 18 military advisers, deployed as part of a 15-million-pound programme to train the paramilitary Frontier Corps, have been withdrawn from Pakistan, The Guardian reports.
The British team, a mix of seasoned officers and NCOs, had been stationed at a British-funded FC base near Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan province.
The British team at the Quetta camp was reportedly working alongside six US advisers, helping to train 360 recruits at a time on 12-week courses.
The training scheme began last August and was scheduled to run until at least summer 2013, the report said, adding that the UK’s MoD hopes to redeploy the team once the tensions abate.
In an email statement, a British spokeswoman said the trainers had been withdrawn "on a temporary basis" at the request of the Pakistan Government in response to "security concerns".
"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.
The removal of British military trainers is seen as an indirect casualty of worsening relations between Pakistan and the United States over the May 2 Navy Seal raid on Osama bin Laden’s lair in Abbottabad, which was conducted without Pakistani consent.
Although British relations with Pakistan are warmer, the embattled army- stung by a barrage of public criticism- is keen to demonstrate its independence from all western allies, the report said.
Since bin Laden''s death, Pakistan has sent home at least 120 US military trainers, most of whom were engaged in training the FC.