A small contingent of US military instructors have begun a training program scheme aimed at turning Pakistan's Frontier Corps into an effective counter-insurgency force, a US military official said. About 25 US military personnel last week began training Pakistani counterparts at a location in Pakistan outside the troubled tribal areas where the Frontier Corps operates, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "It has started. It is a train-the-trainer mission," the official said, emphasizing that the Americans would not directly train the Frontier Corps, but only their Pakistani army instructors. Recruited from the tribal areas and led by Pakistani army officiers, the 80,000-member Frontier Corps historically has been poorly armed and trained. The aim is "basically to train the Frontier Corps in counter-insurgency warfare to make them more effective in the tribal areas," the official said. The politically sensitive program had been stalled for months by negotiations between the US and Pakistani military. The official attributed the delay to difficulties in getting the facilities needed to conduct the training. "What is important here is that the Pakistani government recognizes they have a challenge with extremists inside their own country," said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman. "Clearly they are looking for a variety of means to address it." The Washington Post, meanwhile, reported Thursday that Pakistan plans to supply Chinese-made AK-47 assault rifles and other small arms to tens of thousands of anti-Tabliban fighters in tribal militias called "lashkars."Pakistani officials told the newspaper that the plan to arm the militias was their idea and they were paying for it. It is reminiscent, however, of the successful US effort in Iraq to turn Sunni militias against Al-Qaeda in western Iraq, at the time an insurgent stronghold. The US military, as well as the White House and State Department, has been conducting a major strategy review that for the first time encompasses both Afghanistan and Pakistan.The review was prompted by two years of rising insurgent violence in Afghanistan that now is seen as a threat to a seven-year-old US- and NATO-led effort to establish a democratic, centrally governed state. US military commanders have warned that the insurgency in Afghanistan cannot be quelled without a strategy that effectively shuts down the insurgent sanctuaries in the tribal belt.