(Reuters) – Pakistani Taliban militants holed up in Afghanistan are being squeezed by U.S. drone strikes and a revolt against them, a trend that could disrupt the insurgents’ capability to strike in Pakistan.
For years, Pakistani Taliban commanders fighting the Pakistani state have been hiding in remote areas of east Afghanistan, plotting attacks and recruiting.
But in recent weeks, officials say the insurgency has been weakened by a spate strikes by U.S. drones and a rebellion by tribesmen in Afghanistan’s Kunar province.
The Pakistani and Afghan Taliban are allied and share the goal of toppling their respective governments and setting up an Islamist state across the region.
Their presence on both sides of the border has been a bone of contention between Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the two trading accusations of sheltering insurgents.
But the ascent to power of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has raised hopes for more cooperation in tackling the insurgency.
Four Pakistani Taliban commanders told Reuters drone strikes and tension with tribesmen had forced them to move from small Afghan towns to mountainous border areas.