'Pak efforts have eliminated Taliban strongholds in Swat, Waziristan'

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Washington, May 23 (ANI): Taliban strongholds in Swat and South Waziristan have been eliminated by the Pakistani military's action, US Counter Terrorism Coordinator Daniel Benjamin has said.

Benjamin said that Washington's assistance and Islamabad's efforts had saved American lives, and hailed Pakistan's cross-border cooperation with international forces deployed in Afghanistan in a talk at a Washington think tank and reaffirmed close strategic alliance with the South Asian country.

"Over the last year, al Qaeda has suffered a number of important setbacks. As you have heard from the leaders of our intelligence community recently, the group remained under pressure in Pakistan due to Pakistani military operations aimed at eliminating militant strongholds in FATA," the Daily Times quoted him, as saying.

"It's had a number of leadership losses and is finding it more difficult to raise money, train recruits, and plan attacks outside of the region.

"As my friend and colleague Treasury Assistant Secretary David Cohen noted here last month that al Qaeda was now in the worst financial shape it has been in for years," Benjamin said at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Benjamin noted that Pakistan remained a front-line partner in fighting extremists. "We provide a spectrum of assistance to Pakistani counter terrorism campaigns which range from police training to anti-money laundering efforts."

"Undoubtedly the hundreds of millions of dollars directed to Pakistani counter terrorism efforts have saved American lives and we shouldn't forget that Pakistan has put out-of-business more al Qaeda operatives than any other country," he added. (ANI)

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