Insurgency Increasing in the South

According to the news reports, more than 70 Taliban have been killed in two different operations in the southern Helmand and Kandahar provinces, when Saturday night a group of Taliban attacked the Panjwayi district and clashes started between Taliban and National Police. At the same time the quick reaction forces of the Afghan National Army and NATO forces surrounded the area and pushed the attackers away from the district, which left around 70 Taliban dead. 5 soldiers of Afghan police were also killed during this fighting. NATO aircraft were called in to support Afghan National Police and army troops and NATO soldiers. Even though this was a joint operation of the Afghan National Army and NATO forces, it was the first heavy fighting between the Taliban and NATO since NATO forces took over command of the southern provinces from the US-led coalition on July 31. During an air strike operation in the neighboring Helmand provice, a dozen Taliban were killed and injured. No civilian deaths have been reported from the area.

NATO forces recently took over responsibility for security in the southern province and the situation has been very troubling and these forces face stiff resistance from the insurgents. They have been increasing their attacks since the beginning of this year and 2006 was one of the bloodiest years since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. More than 1500 insurgents, hundreds of civilians and Afghan security forces and dozens of foreign troops have been killed. Every day we hear about one or two suicide attacks. More suicide attacks are happening in Afghanistan than are happening in Iraq, but the civilian death toll is much more in Iraq because the terrorists targets big cities in Iraq, and crowded civilian areas like the capital Baghdad, Mosul and other cities. Also many civilians die in sectarian violence, but in Afghanistan the insurgent activities mostly occur in the southern and eastern provinces because they cross the border and carry out their operations and escape back. They are not very active in the central provinces, western and nothern parts of the country and their activies are mostly limited to the villages and only sometimes they target the big cities. So overall the situation is much better in Afghanistan.

Around 10,000 NATO and ISAF forces have been deployed in the southern provinces and our people are hoping these forces will strengthen the security in the southern provinces so that the reconstruction activities will begin without fear. Security is the main requirement of the Afghan people and if they carry out their operations with the coordination of the Afghan National Army and police they will be very successful because most joint operations with the Afghan forces have been very successful and have prevented civilian deaths. Last week 12 border police were killed by a coalition air strike in Paktia province. If they have radio communication with every provincial security official, it would be very useful to prevent such friendly fire. According to recent reports, the US soldiers will be deployed along the border with Pakistan to monitor terrorist activities, which is a very good decision by the American army. It will be very useful to prevent terrorist attacks. With their modern equipment, they will be more useful than the Afghan army. So we hope they will start putting their troops along the border and once we control the border the terrorists will not be able to cross or escape over the border and the situation will be much better.

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