WASHINGTON Afghan President Hamid Karzai has agreed to send some military officers to Pakistan to get training, signalling deepening of ties between the two neighbours, officials said. The move is viewed as victory for Pakistan, which has sought a larger role in the war in Afghanistan as officials in both countries expressed concern that the US war effort in Afghanistan is sputtering, The Washington Post reported Thursday. According to the report, 300 Afghan soldiers are currently being trained under bilateral agreements in other countries, including Turkey and India, Pakistans traditional adversary. Officials in both countries become increasingly convinced that the US war effort there is faltering, the report said. This is meant to demonstrate confidence to Pakistan, in the hope of encouraging them to begin a serious consultation and conversation with us on the issue of (the) Taliban, Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Karzais National Security Adviser, said of the training agreement. The heretofore unannounced training, involving a limited number of officers, is the first tangible outcome of talks between Karzai and Pakistans military and intelligence chiefs that began in May, observers said. But they said the move likely will cause controversy among some Afghans, who view Pakistan as a Taliban signal-caller not an ally, and in India, which is concerned about Pakistans intentions in Afghanistan. Key US officials involved in Afghanistan said they were caught unaware. We are neither aware of nor have we been asked to facilitate training of the Afghan officer corps with the Pakistani military, Lt Gen William B Caldwell IV, head of the NATO training command in Afghanistan, told the Post in an e-mail. However, Afghanistan is a sovereign nation and can make bilateral agreements with other nations to provide training, Caldwell said. Washington has spent $27 billion to train and equip Afghan security forces since 2002, and President Obamas war strategy calls for doubling the strength of both the army and police force there by October 2011 to facilitate the gradual departure of US troops. This week, Gen David Petraeus, confirmed Wednesday as the new US and NATO war commander, said the United States wants to forge a partnership or further the partnership that has been developing between Afghanistan and Pakistan. In addition to taking military action against Taliban sanctuaries inside its borders, Petraeus said, it is essential that Pakistan be involved in some sort of reconciliation agreement with the insurgents. US officials are generally pleased with the rapprochement between Afghanistan and Pakistan, but the rapid progress of the talks has given some an uneasy feeling that events are moving outside US control. While building Afghanistans weak army is a key component of US strategy, more than 300 Afghan soldiers are currently being trained under bilateral agreements in other countries, including Turkey and India, Pakistans traditional adversary. Pakistan has been pushing for months for a training deal, and Spanta said that a limited number of officers would be part of the new agreement. Details were still under discussion, but a senior Pakistani government official said the programme was expected to begin soon. Shuja Nawaz, Director of the South Asia Centre at the Atlantic Council in Washington and an advocate of a Pakistani training programme, said the plan could expedite joint operations between the two militaries and reduce suspicions about Pakistan within the Afghan army. This is a major move, Nawaz was quoted as saying. It will have a powerful signalling effect in both countries. Analysts and officials see a broader thaw in Afghanistan-Pakistan relations over the past year. Pakistani scholarships have been accepted by a number of Afghan university students, and Pakistan is training Afghan civilian officials, Spanta said. We have seen a paradigm shift in the relationship, said Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistans ambassador to Afghanistan. And of course, both sides are benefiting from it.