20 British ‘military advisors’ to work with Pakistani ArmyMay 6th, 2009 - 7:26 am ICT by IANS
London, May 6 (IANS) About 20 top military and intelligence experts of Britain will now advise the Pakistani Amry in fighting against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the country, the Online news agency has reported.
The British advisers will liaise with the Pakistani Army and particularly with the Frontier Corps, an ethnic Pashtun paramilitary force on the frontline of the battle with the Taliban, according to Whitehall officials.
Britain will also increase the number of intelligence officers in Pakistan, according to the officials, increasing an already large MI6 presence in the country. MI5 is also in the country investigating links to suspected terrorist plotters in Britain.
The British military training programme has been operational for some time, as part of a larger American-led effort to reform the 60,000-strong Frontier Corps.
The US has posted more than 70 special forces soldiers and technical specialists in Pakistan. Last year a joint British-American team of military instructors trained about 120 senior enlisted soldiers in weapons, tactics and communications.
The effort has already borne results. A Pakistani commando unit within the Frontier Corps has used CIA-provided intelligence to kill or capture up to 60 militants, the New York Times reported this year. British officials said a new batch of trainers will be experienced officers or senior NCOs - they will not be armed.
Britain adopts a lower profile than the US, which has provided about $1bn a year in military aid and which regularly dispatches its military chief, Admiral Mike Mullen, for talks with his Pakistan counterpart, General Ashfaq Kayani.
One reason for the British reticence is security: it is considered dangerous to publicise the presence of British troops in Pakistan, where attacks on western targets have increased dramatically in recent years.
Last year a Scotland Yard detective was seriously injured in a bomb attack on a restaurant frequented by westerners.
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