The deals increase the chances of an army victory against Pakistan's internal enemy No. 1, but indicate that the 3-day-old assault into the Taliban's strongholds in South Waziristan may have less effect than the U.S. wants on a spreading insurgency across the border in Afghanistan.
Under the terms agreed to about three weeks ago, Taliban renegades Maulvi Nazir and Hafiz Gul Bahadur will stay out of the current fight in parts of South Waziristan controlled by the Pakistani Taliban. They will also allow the army to move through their own lands unimpeded, giving the military additional fronts from which to attack the Taliban.
In exchange, the army will ease patrols and bombings in the lands controlled by Nazir and Bahadur, two Pakistani intelligence officials based in the region told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because revealing their identities would compromise their work.
An army spokesman described the deal as an "understanding" with the men that they would stay neutral. The agreements underscore Pakistan's past practice of targeting only militant groups that attack the government or its forces inside Pakistan.
Western officials say South Waziristan is also a major sanctuary and training ground for Al Qaeda operatives. The mountain-studded region has been under near-total militant control for years and is considered a likely hiding place for Usama bin Laden.
The United States has responded cautiously to the initial Pakistani strategy, publicly welcoming the offensive but saying little about the specific choice of targets.
"We have a shared goal here, and the shared goal is fighting violent extremism," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said Monday.
Kelly said he was unaware of an agreement to keep some militant factions out of the fight for now, but other U.S. officials said the strategy is not surprising or necessarily worrisome.
While a broad offensive that takes on all comers at once might be ideal, it is not practical, U.S. military officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the United States has no direct role in the operations of another country.
U.S. officials are watching the offensive closely with the hope that the Pakistani army will not pull back after the initial onslaught, and will eventually widen the offensive to cover other militant factions and the more forbidding ground of North Waziristan.