Taliban deny claims of reduced violence in Afghanistan
General David Petraeus, the top commander of international forces in Afghanistan, told reporters Saturday that he believes that signs of progress are visible as insurgent attacks had fallen in number in May and June 2011 compared with the same months in 2010. He said that July had so far exhibited the same trend.
He also said that the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) would begin handing over security responsibility to Afghan forces in a week and half.
"This just means that they (insurgents) have less capacity; they have been degraded somewhat," he said.
General Petraeus is famous for turning around the war in Iraq and was expected to do the same in Afghanistan when he became the commander of US forces here in July 2010. He is due to take over as CIA chief in September.
On Monday, US Army Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez spoke briefly to reporters just before boarding a plane in Kabul, officially concluding his tour as commander of the US-led coalition’s Joint Command and deputy commander of US forces in Afghanistan.
He said the fight was waning in Afghan cities but continued in rural areas.
Rodriguez also said that progress in building up the Afghan national security forces would be uneven.
But a Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, told Pajhwok Afghan News over the telephone from an undisclosed location that US commanders' assessment contradicted ground realities.
He said the claims were baseless and had nothing to do with reality.
"If we look into the situation over the past three months, it shows the violence has increased by several times," Mujahid said.
He said Taliban fighters had carried out 3,127 attacks on Afghan and foreign troops during the past two months.
Hundreds of tanks, rangers, military and logistics vehicles had been destroyed during the period, and hundreds of foreign and local forces killed, the spokesman said.
He said the Taliban had carried out 42 suicide attacks during May and June this year, inflicting huge casualties on government and international troops.
US military commanders wanted to hide their defeat in the war by issuing baseless statements, Mujahid said.
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