Taliban to intensify attacks: ISAF commander
KANDAHARCITY (PAN): Taliban insurgents would accelerate their attacks as the summer sets in, but Afghan and foreign forces were ready to face the challenge, an ISAF commander in Kandahar warned on Thursday.
For the first time, coalition troops would be fighting together with Afghan forces against the militants in the southern province, Gen. James Terry told a press conference at the Kandahar Media Centre.
"Insurgents will fight hard this coming spring and summer; they will attack security forces, government officials and installations besides trying to inflict casualties on civilians," he said.
However, he added the Taliban were "weakened" because their hideouts and training centres had been captured by security forces. Security forces would have the opportunity to pursue rebel networks, the general said
Local police units could be of assistance in thwarting attacks from armed opposition groups, Terry said, adding: "Since he took charge in the south, 91 percent of civilian casualties have been caused by insurgent attacks."
About compensation to Panjwai, Zherai and Arghandab districts' residents, who suffered losses during a recent coalition operation, Terry said that 1,918 people had so far asked for recompense.
He said that 72 percent of the claimants, who received $5.1 million, had been compensated. The commander asked the victims to file petitions with their respective district headquarters.
Governor Toryalai Wesa called the operation "important" for the province. Before the offensive, he said only district and police chiefs could perform their jobs in Arghandab, Zherai, Dand and Panjwai. However, dozens of government officials were currently working in each district, he explained.
The operation had also paved the way for reconstruction projects in the districts, Wesa said, adding more than 1,000 development projects had been completed in Zherai alone.
About an ongoing poppy-eradication campaign in the province, the governor said the drive would be a success, because the government controlled more swathes of land.
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