Islamabad, Oct 26 : US special forces have started training a Pakistani paramilitary unit how to fight the Taliban and al Qaeda, hoping to strengthen a key front-line force as violence surges on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border.
The start of the programme has not been officially announced, but Pakistan Army officers confirmed on Saturday that 32 Americans were training 116 senior personnel of the Frontier Corps in the restive region.
The officials said the course included classroom and field sessions, and the mission would last for around six months.
"We need this training to use modern equipment and weapons," said Frontier Corps Commander Major General Tariq Khan.
The US training programme is reportedly smaller than originally proposed, and was delayed, apparently reflecting misgivings in Pakistan over allowing US troops on its territory.
A US defence official said the trainers were US special operations forces who arrived in Pakistan last week.
Meanwhile, the media quoted Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar as saying that that the Pakistani officers were being trained in Warsak, contrary to reports pointing to the Tarbela area.
He said the government had opted for the programme because Pakistani troops are not trained in guerrilla warfare.