Islamabad: Pakistan and the United States are negotiating a fresh arrangement for allowing expelled American military trainers back into the country.
However, the new agreement, if finalised, will allow a smaller number of American military trainers in Pakistan compared to their pre-May 2 strength.
While neither side has revealed publicly how many US troops were in Pakistan before the unilateral American raid on Osama bin Laden’s lair in Abbottabad, some reports have suggested that the number was around 200.
Pakistan had kicked out about 90 per cent of the US military personnel stationed in the country as a reaction to the May 2 raid by US forces.
The issue of military trainers is believed to be one of the main stumbling blocks in normalising relations between the two countries. However, Washington has offered to restore the monetary aid to Islamabad, if Pakistan reverses its decision on the US military trainers.
At least two senior military officials told a newspaper that both sides are now discussing ways to resolve the issue.
“We had initially told them to pull out all US military personnel, but now we have shown flexibility in our position,” said a military official on the condition of anonymity.
However, the official insisted that the number of US military personnel allowed in Pakistan would be very limited and ‘they will be here only for specific projects.’
“The agreement is yet to be finalised, as the US is not willing to agree on the minimum essential number we are ready to approve,” said another official. “The two sides will have to eventually find the way out.”