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'Taliban short of places to hide'

With the Pakistan army aggressive in its operation against the militants on its side of the border, the Taliban are running out of places to hide, says a US Army commander in charge of operations in Afghanistan.

world Updated: Nov 19, 2008 11:28 IST

With the Pakistan army aggressive in its operation against the militants on its side of the border, the Taliban are running out of places to hide, says a US Army commander in charge of operations in Afghanistan.

"They (Taliban) are running out of options on places to go, which I think is a great thing in the long run," said Col John Spiszer, commander of Task Force Duke. He leads the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, which is responsible for security and stability operations in the crucial Northeastern area of Afghanistan along the Pakistan border.

In a teleconference with reporters from a Forward Operating Base in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, Spiszer said: "We have actually designed some operations to drive the enemy out of Afghanistan. And the Pakistan military is doing operations that really ultimately are in some ways designed to drive them out of Pakistan."

Spiszer anticipated increased violence over the winter compared to earlier years.

"But I think if that is the case, it'll be because the Pakistan military is taking away their (Taliban's) safe havens in Pakistan. So that's going to be a great thing for us in the long run," he said.

In the past several months, the Pakistani army has launched a massive operation against the militants on its border, especially in the tribal areas.

"As we further synchronise our efforts with the Pakistan military and develop our capabilities along the border then these guys are going to start dying on the vine," the American commander said.

"By conducting near-simultaneous operations on both sides of the border, we are making it difficult for the enemy to operate and eliminating his essential safe havens," Spiszer said.

The biggest success is the cooperation and coordination that's developing between the Pakistani military, and coalition and Afghan forces, he added.