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Causalities among Afghan troops surge: Azimi

Causalities among Afghan troops surge: Azimi

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On
Mar 16, 2011 - 15:43

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The number of Afghan soldiers killed this Afghan year, which ends March 21, has shot up compared to the same period last year, the defence ministry said on Wednesday.

As many as 725 Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers had lost their lives in clashes with insurgents and in bomb attacks, the ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi, told a press conference in Kabul.

“Twenty-one soldiers, including officers, were killed over past 21 days,” Azimi said, putting last year's death toll at 635. He cited an increase in suicide and roadside bomb attacks as the main reason for the surge in casualties.

“Militants have changed their war tactics after they lost their headquarters in southern Helmand and Kandahar provinces.” Azimi said.

He said the rebels had lost the courage to fight face-to-face with security forces.

Concerned at an expected increase in violence next year, Azimi said Afghan forces needed new equipment and urged the international community to take note.

Currently, the Afghan army has more than 155,000 recruits which will reach 160,000 by the end of the next Afghan year.

am/ma/cas

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