Insurgent activities increase in Afghanistan: NATO

July 30th, 2008 - 6:05 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Taliban
Kabul, July 30 (Xinhua) Militants fighting Afghan and international forces in Afghanistan have increased their activities, spokesman of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said Wednesday. “There has been an increase in insurgents’ activities in south and east Afghanistan over the past two months or so,” Mike Finney told a joint press conference with Afghan defence ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi.

In addition to terming the summer and warming weather as ” fighting season” in Afghanistan, the spokesman said peace talks with Baitullah Mehsoud’s militants in Pakistan’s tribal area has led to 40 percent increase in insurgents’ activities in Afghanistan.

Baitullah Mehsoud, the commander of Taliban insurgents in Pakistan’s tribal area of North Waziristan adjoining Afghanistan, inked a peace deal with Pakistani government two months ago.

Since inking the peace deal with Pakistan, Mehsoud, according to Afghan government, has ordered his men to fight in Afghanistan against Afghan and international forces based there in the post-Taliban nation.

Afghan officials often accuse Pakistan of supporting Taliban militants, a claim rejected by Islamabad as baseless.

However, NATO’s spokesman stressed that the alliance forces’ mandate is to help stabilize security in Afghanistan and not crossing border to target insurgents.

The NATO-led ISAF troops, Finney added, would maintain the right of self-defense if attacked.

Afghan defence ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi told the press conference that more than 100 insurgents including 20 important figures of Taliban had been killed and dozens of others were injured or arrested over the past one month.

He also added that militants in collaboration with their ” foreign comrades” in a new tactic have focused their guns on vital infrastructures to destroy power dams, bridges and roads but the security forces are alert to foil such malicious designs.

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