ISAF: Insurgent Attacks Drop to About 100 Per Day
Insurgent attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan dropped by five percent in the first eight months of this year, but are still running at around 100 a day, the latest official figures show.
In August, attacks decreased by nine percent compared with the same month last year, NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said, but the statistics do not paint an overall picture of the state of the war.
They contrast with United Nations figures showing that August was the second deadliest month in five years for civilians caught up in the war, with a total of 374 -- more than 10 a day -- killed and 581 injured.
The fact that local troops are taking an increasingly active role in the war as NATO prepares to pull out in 2014 could also account for the drop in the number of recorded attacks against ISAF forces.
Those figures, released on Tuesday, only cover assaults on Afghan forces when they are on joint operations with ISAF troops, not during their increasing solo efforts, a spokesman told AFP.
Comparative figures for the first four months of this year showed that Afghan security forces were dying at five times the rate of NATO soldiers, with a total of 853 soldiers and police killed.
The NATO figures also do not cover the rising toll from so-called "green-on-blue" attacks, in which Afghan forces turn their weapons on their ISAF allies. Such attacks have killed 51 ISAF troops this year -- 15 percent of the total NATO war deaths.
ISAF spokesman Brigadier General Guenter Katz attributed the decrease in insurgent attacks on military forces reflected in the NATO statistics to successes on the battlefield against Taliban-led militants.
"The main reason is that we are able to reverse the momentum of their campaign, pushing them out of the urban areas, fighting them in remote areas," Katz said.
"I guess one of the main reasons is also that ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) are becoming more and more capable.
"The ANSF is coming to the fore and fighting the insurgency very successfully and the insurgents focus now on randomly killing civilians and are looking for attacks that attract the media," he said.
ISAF is still stinging over a spectacular attack earlier this month in which Taliban insurgents stormed a heavily-fortified base in southern Afghanistan, destroying aircraft worth tens of millions of dollars and killing two U.S. Marines.