NEW YORK - Taliban leaders based in Pakistan have agreed to bury their differences and unite forces with their Afghan counterparts to ready a new offensive in Afghanistan as the United States prepares to send 17,000 more troops there this year, The New York Times reported Friday. Several Taliban fighters based in the border region, in interviews with the newspaper, said preparations for the anticipated influx of American troops were already being made. A number of new, younger commanders have been preparing to step up a campaign of roadside bombings and suicide attacks to greet the Americans, the fighters were cited as saying. The alliance was forged after the Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, sent emissaries to persuade Pakistani Taliban leaders to join forces and turn their attention to Afghanistan, the paper said, quoting Pakistani officials and Taliban members. "The overture by Mullah Omar is an indication that with the prospect of an American buildup, the Taliban feel the need to strengthen their own forces in Afghanistan and to redirect their Pakistani allies toward blunting the new American push," The Times correspondent Carlotta Gall, wrote from Islamabad. American officials told The New York Times this week that Pakistan's military intelligence agency continued to offer money, supplies and guidance to the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan as a proxy to help shape a friendly government there once American forces leave. "The new Taliban alliance has raised concern in Afghanistan, where NATO generals warn that the conflict will worsen this year," the dispatch said. "It has also generated anxiety in Pakistan, where officials fear that a united Taliban will be more dangerous, even if focused on Afghanistan, and draw more attacks inside Pakistan from United States drone aircraft". "This may bring some respite for us from militants' attacks, but what it may entail in terms of national security could be far more serious," said an unnamed senior Pakistani official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was quoted as saying by The Times. "This would mean more attacks inside our tribal areas, something we have been arguing against with the Americans." According to the dispatch, the Pakistani Taliban is dominated by three powerful commanders - Baitullah Mehsud, Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Maulavi Nazir - based in North and South Waziristan, who have often clashed among themselves. Mullah Omar dispatched a six-member team to Waziristan in late December and early January, several Taliban fighters said in interviews with The Times correspondent in Dera Ismail Khan. The Afghan Taliban delegation urged the Pakistani Taliban leaders to settle their internal differences, scale down their activities in Pakistan and help counter the planned increase of American forces in Afghanistan, the fighters said. The three Pakistani Taliban leaders agreed. In February, they formed a united council, or shura, called the Council of United Mujahedeen. In a printed statement the leaders vowed to put aside their disputes and focus on fighting American-led forces in Afghanistan. A spokesman for the Afghan Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahid, denied that the meetings ever took place or that any emissaries were sent by Mullah Omar. The Afghan Taliban, it said, disavow any presence in Pakistan or connection to the Pakistani Taliban to emphasize that their movement is indigenous to Afghanistan. "We don't like to be involved with them, as we have rejected all affiliation with Pakistani Taliban fighters," Mujahid was quoted as saying. "We have sympathy for them as Muslims, but beside that, there is nothing else between us." Several Pakistani officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the meetings. But they said that the overture might have been inspired by Sirajuddin Haqqani, an Afghan Taliban leader who swears allegiance to Mullah Omar but is largely independent in his operations.