Pakistan's army chief said Saturday his forces had "broken the back" of militants after the United States criticised the country's efforts to quell Taliban and al Qaeda-linked rebels. "The terrorists' backbone has been broken and God willing we will soon prevail," General Ashfaq Kayani said in a speech at a passing-out parade at the Pakistan Military Academy in northwestern town of Abbottabad. The White House this month criticised Pakistan's efforts to defeat the Taliban in its border regions, in a report immediately rejected by Islamabad. "Let me assure you that we in Pakistan's army are fully aware of the internal and external threat to our country," Kayani said Saturday.