Anti-rebel operations to be increased next year: Blotz
KABUL (PAN): German Army Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, International Security Assistance Force spokesman, forecasting 2011 a bloodiest year, on Friday said international troops led by Afghan forces would intensify their efforts next year to defeat insurgent networks.
During an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Blotz predicted next year more difficult than this year, when at least 500 US troops were among the 710 in the coalition who lost their lives across the country.
The process of transition of security responsibility from foreign troops to local forces would begin in 2011, the NATO official said. He added the capabilities of Afghan forces had improved during the years of 2009 and 2010.
Blotz linked the increasing casualties among foreign troops to their widened areas of operations. He said foreign and local forces would carry out joint operations next year and would focus on security of areas secured from insurgents after the operations.
He acknowledged the death toll among the forces was record high this year, but said there had been a lot of achievements during the year.
He said there was no hope for a decrease in the violence next year, but they would try to keep areas secured from insurgents after operations. However, he did not specifically mention the areas where operations will be conducted.
When asked why operations are being carried out on wrong intelligence reports which often result in civilian casualties, Blotz said: "Under the prevailing circumstances, we have to trust every report as 90 percent of such reports are proved credible."
He said the forces did not trust people for a second time after giving wrong information for the first time. Many such people had been arrested and handed over to the Afghan government, he said.
He said a joint operation involving ISAF and Afghan forces was ongoing in Kunar province near the border with Pakistan. Across the border, he said, Pakistani forces in cooperation with Afghan forces have launched an operation against militants.
To another question, he said Afghan air force personnel were currently operating transport flights and they would be handed over 60 different types of airplanes until the end of 2011. Some Afghan air force officials were being trained in foreign countries, he said.
Blotz suggested the Afghan government should obtain aircrafts from Russia as Russian planes had good results in Afghanistan.
The general said the number of Afghan National Police has reached 280,000 and that their strength would reach 304,000 by 2011.
According to Blotz, the international community provided $11 million each year for the sector of security and a sum of $30 million was being spent in different Afghan sectors each year.
About Russia's involvement in Afghanistan, he said NATO-led ISAF had no contacts with Russia. He said Russian assistance with Afghanistan was a demand of the Afghan government.
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