NATO, Pakistan sharing tactical plans: US official
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Last Updated: Saturday, February 27, 2010, 18:52
Washington: NATO commanders in Afghanistan have begun traveling to Pakistan to share plans for military operations for the first time, a senior US official has said.

The apparent aim is to make sure that militants don't slip back and forth the unmarked, mountainous border region to escape coalition or Pakistani forces.

According to the official, who briefed reporters on condition that he not be named, the sharing of tactical information represents a new level of cooperation for the military forces battling the Taliban, al Qaeda and other militants.

"That has not happened before," the official said. The US official also said the capture of about 15 senior and mid-level Taliban figures in Pakistan in recent weeks, coupled with those killed in suspected CIA missile strikes, has raised pressure on the militants.

The official said Taliban leaders can no longer be certain of finding "safe haven" in Pakistan after battling coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Missiles launched from US drones have reportedly killed dozens of militants in Pakistan in recent months, but American officials do not confirm the existence of the covert CIA programme.

The official praised the recent captures, which included Taliban's No 2 leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Baradar, the operational leader for the faction's war against coalition forces in Afghanistan, has been portrayed by both US, Pakistani and Afghan officials as a major blow to the Taliban.

But the US official cautioned that the arrests did not necessarily signal that Pakistan is adopting a harder line against the militants, who have long enjoyed relative sanctuary in that country.

The official also told reporters he had seen no evidence Pakistan played any role in the suicide bombings in Kabul, which Afghan President Hamid Karzai said were aimed at Indians working in Afghanistan.

Six Indians were among the 16 people killed in the attacks, which wounded 36. The Taliban has long opposed India's involvement in the country.

In particular, Pakistan opposes India's ties to the Northern Alliance, which helped the US oust the Taliban regime in 2001 and formed the backbone of Karzai's government.


First Published: Saturday, February 27, 2010, 18:52

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