Oops! Was he supposed to say that?

[Things slip–sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose, sometimes as a trial balloon (“Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes.”)  But when these relations are more deeply exposed, it’s a good time to watch whether the embrace continues, unbroken, and who tries to cover their face.  Here, the statement of the Pentagon commander is reported; the following stories report the denials by India and Nepal. — Frontlines ed.]

Pentagon commander says US special forces in India

02 March 12, 2012

US and Indian air force paratrooper at the India-US joint air exercise in Agra on 19 October 2009

US special forces are present in five South Asian countries, including India, a top Pentagon commander has revealed.

US Pacific Commander Admiral Robert Willard said the teams were deployed to help India with their counter-terrorism co-operation.

The US and India were working together to contain Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, he said.

The US embassy in Delhi clarified that the troops were not stationed in India.

A spokesman told the BBC that there were “no special forces stationed in India”, as media reports had suggested.

The embassy and India’s ministry of defence said a unit from the US 25th infantry division was in India to hold an exercise with Indian forces.

‘Working closely’

Adm Willard said US teams were also present in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

“We have currently special forces assist teams – Pacific assist teams is the term – laid down in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, as well as India,” Adm Willard told a Congressional hearing.

“We are working very closely with India with regard to their counter-terrorism capabilities and in particular on the maritime domain but also government to government, not necessarily department of defence but other agencies assisting them in terms of their internal counter-terror and counterinsurgency challenges.” Continue reading

Obama secretly deploys US special forces to 75 countries across world

From The Times (UK)

June 5, 2010

Tim Reid and Michael Evans, Washington

President Obama has secretly sanctioned a huge increase in the number of US special forces carrying out search-and-destroy missions against al-Qaeda around the world, with American troops now operating in 75 countries.

The dramatic expansion in the use of special forces, which in their global span go far beyond the covert missions authorised by George W. Bush, reflects how aggressively the President is pursuing al-Qaeda behind his public rhetoric of global engagement and diplomacy.

When Mr Obama took office US special forces were operating in fewer than 60 countries. In the past 18 months he has ordered a big expansion in Yemen and the Horn of Africa — known areas of strong al-Qaeda activity — and elsewhere in the Middle East, central Asia and Africa.

According to The Washington Post, Mr Obama has also approved pre-emptive special forces strikes to disrupt terror plots, and has given the units powers and authority that was not granted by Mr Bush when he occupied the White House. Continue reading