Page last updated at 01:15 GMT, Friday, 2 October 2009 02:15 UK

UK help on Pakistan security body

A Pakistani policeman fires at gunmen at a police academy in Manawan, near Lahore
Pakistan has stepped up its offensive against the Taliban this year

Britain is helping to set up a national security authority in Pakistan to combat terrorism and promote political stability, the BBC has learned.

It will be modelled on terrorism units run by the Home Office and MI5.

Many analysts fear the battle with the Taliban in Pakistan could reach the scale of the conflict in Afghanistan.

British intelligence has estimated that almost three-quarters of planned terrorist attacks in Britain recently have their origins in Pakistan.

According to the BBC's Richard Watson, senior British and Pakistani counter-terrorism sources have said British training and funding will be made available to the new authority.

Initially 200 experts will be employed in Pakistan, covering extremism and religious affairs.

There will be a new counter-terrorism strategy within six months, and research projects will be launched.

One of these will examine the alleged role in religious schools and radicalisation.

Critics of the plan suggest Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, could block progress, because it will remain in charge of terrorist investigations, although Pakistani sources insist the ISI is fully on board, our correspondent added.

The Home Office declined to comment on funding, but said it strongly supported the move.



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