Security situation improving: Azimi
The number and capacity of Afghan soldiers and police had considerably risen, leaving a positive impact on the security situation, ministry spokesman, Gen. Zahir Azimi, told a news conference.
Afghan soldiers were conducting operations in unsecure provinces and the offensives would continue until security was restored, he said, noting improvement in Helmand province.
The Afghan National Army (ANA) strength went up to 180,000, with 95 percent of soldiers equipped with light weapons, the spokesman added.
Azimi said he had discussed with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta the ongoing security transfer process, regional issues and the challenges and problems being faced by Afghan soldiers.
Panetta had promised the US would continue supporting Afghanistan over the long haul, the official said, insisting Afghan soldiers were ready for the second phase of security transition.
More than 1,600 Taliban fighters and 470 Afghan soldiers were killed in security operations and clashes since March 21. Another 98 soldiers were wounded and 4,150 insurgents detained, he revealed.
Afghan soldiers also recovered four tones of narcotics and a huge quantity of explosives, according to the spokesman, who explained most of the troops were killed in roadside bombings.
Also present on the occasion, Afghan Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Abdul Wahab Wardak said currently they had 40 aircraft and the number would increase to 150 by 2016.
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