WASHINGTON - Pakistans military offensive against the Taliban has slowed the flow of arms and fighters into Afghanistan, a major American newspaper reported Saturday, citing US officials. According to the Los Angeles Times, the development has prompted intelligence analysts to issue cautiously upbeat new assessments of Pakistans ability to contain the threat of violent extremists. The US intelligence and military officials say that the revised outlook reflected a series of developments over the last few months, including not only the Pakistani military campaign in the Swat Valley, but shifting political currents that have prompted many Pakistanis to turn against extremist groups and back their governments anti-insurgency efforts. All of a sudden military operations [against militants] are being imbued with a kind of legitimacy, popular support and political support they have never had before, an unnamed senior US intelligence official who oversees analysis of the region, was quoted as saying. Obama administration officials were warning only weeks ago that Pakistans fragile government could succumb to a militant offensive that had drawn nearer to Islamabad, but the developments have changed the US view. The senior US intelligence official described it as a critical change in a nation where the government has for years been reluctant to take on militants for the fear of being accused of turning the Pakistani military against its own people and doing the bidding of the United States. At the same time, US military officials said this week that Pakistans operations in Swat and South Waziristan were already having a measurable effect on the amount of equipment and violence spilling over the border into Afghanistan. Theres a definite impact, and I think it almost cant be overstated, said Col John Spiszer, who is the commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Infantry Division, a unit responsible for security operations in the northeastern Afghanistan along the Pakistani border. Spiszer said Taliban elements appeared to have concluded that they could no longer afford to send as many fighters or weapons into Afghanistan because they may be needed to fight the Pakistani army in tribal regions that the militants have used as safe havens since the September 11 attacks. For the militant groups along the border in Afghanistan, weapons are drying up. Money is drying up, Spiszer said via a satellite interview with Pentagon reporters. Theres only so many resources to go around..... If theyre having to use them to fight against the Pakistan military and the Frontier Corps [paramilitary], they certainly arent of use here. The relatively optimistic assessment comes as the Obama administration is deploying an additional 21,000 troops to Afghanistan hoping to reverse what had been an increasingly costly campaign in terms of US and allied troops lives. Last year was the deadliest for the coalition, with 294 troops killed, and 153 more deaths this year, according to the independent website icasualties.org, cited by the LA Times. June has brought no relief to that trend, with 35 killed so far the highest monthly toll of 2009. More recently, the newspaper noted that the Pakistani military has begun carrying out smaller military operations in South Waziristan, along the mountainous border with Afghanistan, setting the stage for a potential assault on Baitullah Mehsud. Pakistani officials have blamed the Taliban leader for a string of deadly bombings as well as the 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto. He has denied involvement in her killing. A senior Pakistani government official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the military had begun commando-type, special forces operations aimed at Mehsud, and was seeking to strengthen the militants rivals. Were going to launch an operation, the Pakistani official said. We would first like to consolidate our gains in Swat and then open a new front. A CIA drone fired on a funeral service for a former Mehsud lieutenant this week, killing about 65 people. The strike was seen as an indication of expanding cooperation between the CIA and Pakistan in the hunt for the militant leader, who Pakistani officials say had been present at the funeral earlier but escaped the attack.