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US military: Taliban spring offensive unlikely in Afghanistan

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The Taliban are unlikely to launch a spring offensive in Afghanistan this year because all their energies will be focused in Pakistan, United States military officials said. But as that battle heats up, US officials added that they do not have enough intelligence on the ground in Pakistan.

Taliban and Al Qaeda militants have killed more than 600 people in Pakistan in recent months, making 2007 the deadliest year for militancy in Pakistan. Although Pakistan's military has 100,000 troops stationed along the border of Afghanistan, violent extremism has spread inland to large cities like Lahore, where a suicide bomber killed 25 policemen in early January. Pakistan's government and the CIA have also blamed Taliban militants, working with Al Qaeda, for the assassination in late December of Benazir Bhutto.

The deteriorating security makes Pakistan more of a viable target for the Taliban, US officials told the Associated Press.

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