Rebels to be kept under pressure in winter: ISAF
KABUL (PAN): Although militants could not achieve their goal of destabilising Afghanistan this past summer, they had strong safe havens on the Pakistani side of the border, a spokesman for NATO-led forces said on Monday.
Insurgents had failed to achieve their goals due to several joint operations by Afghan and International Security Assistance Force soldiers, the spokesman told a news conference in Kabul.
Carsten Jacobson said the anti-government elements were trying to put up resistance, particularly in Afghanistan's eastern provinces, but the joint force continued their counterinsurgency offensive.
He said the NATO-led troops would continue to maintain pressure on militants during the upcoming winter. The insurgents were no longer capable of face-to-face combat with the Afghan and foreign soldiers, he claimed.
Also present at the press conference was interior ministry spokesman, Ghulam Siddiq Siddiqui, who said since the fighters had lost the courage to enter a direct fight with security forces, they had resorted to using roadside bombs, causing civilian casualties.
"Militant networks have the backing of major international terrorist groups. Recent militant attacks in the country were planned by the Haqqani network," the ministry spokesman alleged.
On the capability of Afghan forces, Siddiqui said the number of professional, equipped and educated policemen had considerably increased. He added 50,000 policemen were currently attending literacy courses.
The illiteracy rate among Afghan police was one of the serious problems, he said, adding the ministry had prioritised addressing the issue. The percentage of educated policemen had risen, compared to previous years, he added, but did not provide specific figures.
On Sept. 19, interior ministry officials said about 36,000 of 52,000 uneducated policemen would graduate from literacy course in the near future. Of the 150,000-strong police force, 52,000 are illiterate.
Illiterate policemen were facing several problems and that was why the ministry had intensified efforts to train them, said the training department head, Mujtaba Patang.
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