Drop in ISAF fatalities linked to security switch
KABUL (PAN): As the transition process continues apace, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on Saturday ascribed falling fatalities among foreign troops to the growing capability of Afghan security personnel.
US military deaths in Afghanistan have slumped to their lowest level in five years, with ISAF fatalities also hitting an all-time low in seven years, according to the website iCasualties.org, which tracks conflict-related deaths in the country.
Over the past three months, the US military suffered 17 deaths, compared with 57 during the previous winter. A marine who died in Helmand on Feb. 22 was the only US soldier to be killed in 43 days.
Dr. Waheed Momand, an Afghan officer with the ISAF media team, told Pajhwok Afghan News it was not surprising that there had been fewer deaths in November, December and January -- compared to the same period a year earlier.
“The impressive growth of the Afghan forces and the fact that they are taking the security lead in areas where 87% of the population lives has also contributed to the reduction in coalition deaths on the battlefield,” he added.
The ANSF were conducting highly successful unilateral operations across the country and playing a leading role in most conventional offensives, he said. “This is proof that the campaign is progressing from one primarily focused on coalition-led combat operations to one focused on the train, advise and assist mission.”
But Momand explained the shift in focus did not mean the coalition's combat role was coming to an end, ISAF would continue to support the ANSF in putting unrelenting pressure on the insurgency until its mission was complete at the end of 2014, he concluded.
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