NATO chief’s remarks come after a sharp rise in violence in provinces.
Stoltenberg Says NATO Has Increased Support to ANDSF
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says that the increase in violence in parts of Afghanistan and the withdrawal of Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) from some areas has made NATO increase its support to these forces.
In an interview with Stoltenberg on Tuesday, the NATO chief told TOLOnews that recently the increase in violence by Taliban and other armed groups in parts of Afghanistan has resulted in NATO’s decision to increase its support to Afghan forces.
“We have seen setbacks and we have seen the violence which Taliban and different insurgent groups are responsible for. So for me, that just strengthens the arguments for NATO providing support and also the fact that we decided to increase our support, not going back to the combat mission, but to strengthen our train, assist and advise support to the Afghan army and security forces to make sure that they are able to respond to the challenges and the threats and the attacks they are faced with,” said Stoltenberg.
Stoltenberg did however praise Afghan forces for confronting the insurgents and trying hard to maintain security.
"We have seen courage, we have seen strong commitment, we have seen professionalism by the Afghan government forces again and again and I want to commend them for their bravery and their commitment," Stoltenberg added.
Stoltenberg’s remarks come in the wake of a sharp rise in the number of Taliban attacks on security forces around the country – which has resulted in a heavy casualty toll among Afghan troops.
The biggest attacks this year were on Farah and Ghazni provinces where security forces fought hard to retain control over the cities.
Ghazni residents for instance, are still concerned about safety – three months after the major Taliban attack on the city.
Reports indicate that even the most secure parts of Ghazni province are under threat.
“If more security forces are stationed (in Ghazni), the situation will return to normal. We want attention to be paid to Ghazni,” Abdul Bari Shalgari, a member of Ghazni provincial council said.
“They (Taliban) ruined all the buildings of the districts, which have collapsed. Now the weather is cold, and it is difficult for us to rebuild these buildings quickly,” Ghulam Daud Tarakhil, Ghazni police chief said.
Attacks on military bases in different provinces, the attack on Ghazni city, and the assassination of Gen. Abdul Raziq, the late police chief of Kandahar, are some instances of attacks in the last three months.
On Tuesday, Farah provincial council meanwhile said over 20 border forces were killed in a Taliban attack in Posh-e-Koh district.
“They attacked a number of our security outposts where army soldiers were stationed,” Farah police chief Fazl Ahmad Shirzad said.
“If the situation continues in this way, I think we will have a difficult winter. And I do not believe that we will have elections in districts at the same time as presidential elections,” Khalilullah Shahbaz, an MP said.
On Tuesday, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a report that civilian casualties, during the parliamentary elections on October 20 and 21, were more than the casualties recorded in past elections.
“The security situation is not good and every day we witness heavy casualties of security forces,” Hekmatullah Shahbaz, a university lecturer said.
UNAMA said in an earlier report that the first six months of this year over 230 civilians were killed just in IED explosions and 645 others were wounded.