Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Pakistan Deploys 9,500 Troops at Border

Pakistan has sent 9,500 more troops to the border with Afghanistan to prevent infiltration by militants intent on disrupting Afghan elections later this month, the army said Tuesday.
Taliban-led insurgents hoping to disrupt the Sept. 18 vote are believed to have sought sanctuary in some parts of Pakistan's deeply conservative tribal regions, drawing criticism from Afghan and U.S. officials.
Pakistan, a key U.S. ally in the war on terror, now has about 80,000 forces at the border.Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan said 5,000 additional forces have been deployed in the northwest and 4,500 in southwestern Baluchistan province.
The deployment was completed after an Aug. 28 meeting in Islamabad of senior military commanders from Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States to review security for the Afghan vote, the country's next key step toward democracy after two decades of war, he said.
Sultan said Pakistan has also set up between 40 and 50 mobile check posts and sent six transport helicopters and three helicopter gunships to the frontier "to beef up security and curtail activities of miscreants."


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