KABUL, March 25: Pakistan army patrols of the border with Afghanistan are helping to block Taliban reinforcements moving into the south, said a Nato commander on Sunday.

A Nato and Afghan operation launched in Helmand province of nearly three weeks ago had not been met with any “major mobilisation” of forces, Maj-Gen Ton van Loon told reporters.

In that area, “We are seeing that there are limited amounts of foreign fighters coming into the country and I think the Pakistanis are really making a big difference,” the Dutch general told reporters.

There had been an “increase in patrolling along the border and around refugee camps by the Pakistani army,” he said.

Afghan and Western officials have stepped up pressure on Pakistan in past months to do more to stop militants moving from bases on Pakistani soil into Afghanistan to feed the Taliban-led insurgency.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan troops involved in the operation, called Achilles, had encountered “hardcore Taliban extremists,” he said.

But, “To date we have not seen signs of a major mobilisation of enemy forces ...,” said the ISAF commander for southern Afghanistan.

The operation had resulted in limited casualties to the military and “we have killed several Taliban extremists,” Van Loon said.

Achilles, involving 5,500 Afghan and foreign troops, is focused on the northern part of Helmand and against ideologically inspired Taliban, foreign jihadists and drug lords.

Its aim is to secure the Kajaki hydropower dam so it can be rehabilitated to supply power and irrigation.—AFP

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