US Vice President Dick Cheney has made an unannounced visit to Pakistan to ask for more help in combating a new Taliban offensive in neighbouring Afghanistan. There is increased concern that Taliban fighters are taking refuge in Pakistani territory, just over the porous border with Afghanistan. Analysts say the Taliban has a virtual mini-state in northern Pakistan.
US President George W Bush has sent an unusually tough message to his counterpart Pervez Musharraf, warning him that Washington would cut aid to Pakistan if it fails to toughen its fight against the Taliban.
The past year has been the bloodiest since the Taliban was ousted in 2001. Washington, which already has some 27,000 soldiers in Afghanistan has announced it is sending in an extra 3,200 troops.