By Candice Rondeaux and Imtiaz Ali
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, March 30, 2008; Page A17
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A project to send U.S. military advisers to train Pakistani border forces could begin as early as this summer. But the advisers, according to Western and Pakistani military officials, face serious challenges if they are to transform an ill-equipped paramilitary group into a front-line bulwark against terrorism.
A Pakistani Army soldier in training.
Twenty-two American advisers are being tasked with training a cadre of officers in Pakistan‘s Frontier Corps in counterinsurgency and intelligence-gathering tactics, according to U.S. officials in Pakistan familiar with the plan. The goal is to bolster the force’s operations along the country’s porous 1,500-mile-long border with Afghanistan, an area that has become a hotbed for the Taliban and al-Qaeda, as well as their sympathizers.
But military analysts say that cultural and political fault lines within the Frontier Corps and Pakistan itself could prove the undoing of the U.S. program. The bulk of the force’s rank-and-file troops are ethnic Pashtuns, many of whom are wary of going into battle against a Pashtun-dominated insurgency. Commanders, meanwhile, are regular army officers who often have little in common with their subordinates.
Maj. Gen. Mohammed Alam Khattak, the top commander of the Frontier Corps….