US military and intelligence officials fear that militants' "safe havens" in Pakistan where top Taliban leaders are hiding could thwart American military efforts in Afghanistan this year, a media report said on Tuesday.
American officials, the New York times said, are increasingly focusing on the Pakistani city of Quetta, where Taliban leaders are believed to play a significant role in stirring violence in southern Afghanistan.
The Taliban operations in Quetta are different from operations in the mountainous tribal areas of Pakistan that have until now been the main setting for American unease, the report said.
But as the US prepares to send 30,000 troops into Afghanistan, the Times says, military and intelligence officials believe the effort could be futile unless there is a concerted effort to kill or capture Taliban leaders in Quetta and cut the group's supply lines into Afghanistan.
From Quetta, Taliban leaders including Mullah Muhammad Omar, a reclusive one-eyed cleric, guide commanders in southern Afghanistan, raise money from wealthy Persian Gulf donors and deliver guns and fresh fighters to the battlefield, the paper quoted Obama administration and military officials as saying.