RIYADH: Pak-Saudi Special Forces joint counter-terrorism exercise ‘Al-Shehab-2’ is underway at Prince Naif Security City – Riyadh, according to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
The two-week long exercise started on November 25 and will continue till December 10. The Pakistani contingent comprising of 68 officers and soldiers of special services group (SSG) is participating in this exercise.
The Pak-Saudi joint exercise will help participating troops from both sides learn from each other’s experiences in the counterterrorism field and strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two forces and the countries.
In 2015, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia began Al-Shehab 1 in Pakistan which was also two-week-long joint anti-terror exercise held at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) in Pabbi tehsil near Jhelum.
The joint exercise focused on the anti-terrorism training of the special forces of Islamabad and Riyadh.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have longstanding defence and security cooperation and they held war-games in the past. Al-Shehab 1 was the first time the two countries held a joint anti-terror training after relations between Islamabad and Riyadh were strained over Pakistan’s refusal to join the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The oil-rich kingdom had sought both material and manpower for its campaign but Pakistan’s parliament voted against the demand causing an unusual hiccup in ties with the key Arab country.
NCTC is Pakistan’s first state of the art facility with a large capacity to impart quality training to troops for combating terrorism in all kinds of terrain.