250 US nationals have left Pakistan since bin Laden operation | Pakistan Today

250 US nationals have left Pakistan since bin Laden operation

Around 250 US nationals including military trainers, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives and defense contractors have left Pakistan since the eruption of a serious diplomatic row between Islamabad and Washington in the wake of the May 2 military raid by American special forces in Abbottabad to kill al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
Pakistan had asked the Obama administration to call back well over 120 military trainers, dozens of CIA operatives and defense contractors after the covert military action in Abbottabad.
As a result of that demand, well over 250 Americans have left Pakistan. “Pakistan has even asked US to slash the staff that deals with the media at its embassy and bring it down to the minimum required number,” said a diplomatic source here on Sunday, requesting anonymity. Some media outlets, a couple of days ago, ran a story that Islamabad had demanded the US once again to withdraw over 250 of its nationals from Pakistani soil. However, that report was denied by Pakistani officials, including the foreign office spokeswoman.
“Yes that news was not correct as over 250 people have already left Pakistan and there has been no fresh demand by Pakistan from US in this regard,” the source said.
He said the basic motive of Pakistani authorities in asking the Americans to leave was to target the ‘dubious characters’ linked to CIA and carrying out their activities on their own without the knowledge of the Pakistani government.
He said bin Laden’s killing led to the disclosure that CIA was running a large network of its own in Pakistan to hunt down the al Qaeda chief and other terrorists linked with him and the Taliban.
“If someone from the US is here for a genuine purpose, Pakistani authorities don’t have any problem with him or her but if he or she is here for spying in the garb of something else, then it’s definitely a serious issue,” he said.
A Pakistani security official confirmed that more than 200 Americans have been sent back to the US after the bin Laden episode. He said that negotiations were still going on between Islamabad and Washington for the redeployment of a few American military trainers to impart training to Pakistani security forces.
He said those talks were being held on a positive note and if they proved to be conclusive, only a few US trainers linked with specific projects, which were in the pipeline before the suspension of around $800 million worth of military assistance to Islamabad, would be allowed to come back to Pakistan and finish their job.



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