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Pakistani assault hurting Taliban: US officer

world Updated: Jun 23, 2009 23:32 IST

AFP
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The Pakistan military's offensive against the Taliban has cut insurgent attacks across the border in eastern Afghanistan, depriving them of a cheThe Pakistan military's offensive against the Taliban has cut insurgent attacks across the border in eastern Afghanistan, depriving them of a cheap supply of arms, a senior US officer said on Tuesday.ap supply of arms, a senior US officer said on Tuesday.

"I think there's a definite impact," US Colonel John Spiszer, commander of a brigade combat team in northeast Afghanistan, told reporters.

As a result of Pakistani operations against Taliban militants in Bajaur and other areas near the Afghan border, Spiszer said: "The activity in this area has declined. And not just declined, weapons are drying up, money's drying up."

The colonel, whose forces are part of the US First Infantry Division, said the Pakistani army's operations meant the Taliban needed weapons for its battle against the Islamabad government, driving up the price of arms for their comrades across the border.

"We have pretty good evidence that... weapons and ammunition (prices) have almost doubled since last summer," he said by video link from Jalalabad in Afghanistan.

"That's a great sign because there's only so much that they can do. If they can't pay their fighters, if they can't buy weapons," he said.

Pakistani troops are wrapping up an almost two-month-long operation against Taliban rebels in northwest Swat valley, and are preparing to launch a second front against feared Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud and his network along the rugged tribal belt.

Worsening Taliban-linked attacks have killed almost 2,000 people in the nuclear-armed country since July 2007.