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
"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
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