Amid tensions with India, Pakistan restricted leave for soldiers, put its air force on alert and moved troops away from the western region where the U.S. has pressed it to combat the Taliban….
By Richard Oppel, Jr.
The New York Times
Pakistan is moving some troops away from its western border with Afghanistan, where the United States has pressed it to combat Taliban militants, and stopping many soldiers from going on leave amid rising tensions with India, senior Pakistani officials said Friday.
A senior military official said in an interview that the decision to sharply restrict leave for soldiers was taken “in view of the prevailing environment,” namely the deteriorating relations with India since the Mumbai terrorist attacks last month. He added that the Pakistani air force was “vigilant” and “alert” for the same reason. A second Pakistani security official would not say where the forces were being sent, but confirmed the troop movements and the restrictions on leave, saying “there’s an obvious reason for that.”
The redeployment came as Indian authorities warned their citizens not to travel to Pakistan given the heightened tensions between the two nations, news agencies reported, particularly since Indian citizens had been arrested there in connection with a bombing in the Pakistani city of Lahore.
The senior military official said that the Pakistani troops were being drawn from northwestern Pakistan, where the military is fighting Taliban militants on several fronts. He said that “essential troops in limited numbers are being pulled out of areas where no operations are being conducted,” or where winter weather had already limited their ability to maneuver.
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