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Insurgent Attacks on Troops in Afghanistan Rise

KABUL - Afghan and NATO officials on Monday said the number of attacks on local and international troops in Afghanistan has increased in recent months.

The Defence Ministry said 216 soldiers have been killed and 538 injured in the conflict with insurgents since mid-March. One Afghan government official told dpa there has been a 40 per cent increase in attacks on Afghan police alone.

A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) confirmed the overall increase in the number of attacks.

"In terms of enemy-initiated attacks, I can confirm however, that if you just look at the last 12 weeks, we had a slight increase of enemy-initiated attacks of 10 per cent," General Gunter Katz told reporters in Kabul.

"The number of Afghan security forces is increasing compared to 2011. We have more troops in the field today than 2011," he said.

"And the ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) are not only increasing in numbers but also in quality. They are pushing the enemy hard. They are pushing the enemy from their areas."

Afghanistan's former intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh on the weekend said the military deadlock was deepening the country, raising fears of war in the aftermath of the withdrawal of NATO-led forces in 2014.

In an interview with Tolonews that was broadcast late Sunday, he said there has been no improvement in security situation in recent months.

"It is sincerely unfortunate: nearly 1,800 personnel of Afghan national army and police were killed and 4,000 injured in the last three months," Saleh said.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai last month told parliament that 20-25 national security forces were being killed every day.

According to a dpa count, at least 130 civilians have been killed since the beginning of this month alone.

Saleh, who headed the National Directorate of Intelligence until 2010, is a vocal critic of the Kabul administration and its bid to hold peace talks with the Taliban, which has been waging an insurgency now in its 11th year.

"The figure means that the enemy could increase the human and financial cost of this war for the government of Afghanistan and our allies. And at the same time, one of their goals is to spread the psychological war and they have achieved it in some parts," he said.

"The leadership is facing anxiety. There are signs and evidences that show that multiple and parallel formations are being established. It is lacking ideas and initiative," he said.

"People do not believe the system anymore. Reality is that there is no considerable progress in security. Reality is that Afghanistan's allies have problems with the system's leadership," Saleh said.

Swathes of rural Afghanistan have been the scene of a spake of deadly Taliban attacks. Last week, a warlord-turned-politician and a police chief were killed in a suicide bombing at a hotel in Samangan province.

In April, Taliban insurgents carried out daring attacks in Kabul over an 18-hour period.

In May, the movement announced its spring offensive, dubbed Al-Farooq, saying it would implement "new and tested war tactics" and target government officials and allies of Karzai.

Last month, dozens of people were killed in attacks at a resort on the outskirts of the city.

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