The Pakistani army said Saturday that it would withdraw hundreds of troops from a tense tribal region near the Afghan border where Osama bin Laden and his top deputy were believed to be hiding.
The pullback from South Waziristan comes after several military operations in recent months against Al Qaeda militants and their supporters, involving thousands of troops.
Lt. Gen. Safdar Hussain, the top general in northwestern Pakistan, said after meeting with tribal elders that the army would remove checkpoints in Wana, the main town in South Waziristan.
He said the move was “in return for the support of tribesmen in operations against foreign miscreants.”
Some troops will remain in the area, he said.
U.S. forces remain on the Afghan side in hopes of capturing or killing Al Qaeda operatives crossing the border.
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Lance Smith said this month that it was “essential” that Pakistan’s military continue operations in the area. Smith said Pakistan’s military has been so effective in pressuring Al Qaeda leaders in western Pakistan that Bin Laden and his top deputies were no longer able to direct terrorist operations.