Internally displaced Afghans from Helmand province, carry sacks of blankets to be donated by the United Nation’s refugee agency (UNHCR) at a refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012. Around 600 internally displaced families received winter relief assistance distributed by the United Nation’s refugee agency. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Violence in Afghanistan fell in 2012, but more Afghan troops and police who now shoulder most of the combat were killed, according to statistics compiled by The Associated Press.
At the same time, insider killings by uniformed Afghans against their foreign allies rose dramatically, eroding confidence between the sides at a crucial turning point in the war and when NATO troops and Afghan counterparts are in more intimate contact.
“The overall situation is improving,” said a NATO spokesman, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Lester T. Carroll. He singled out Afghan special forces as “surgically removing insurgent leaders from the battle space.”
Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, said Afghan forces were now charged with 80 percent of security missions and were less equipped to face the most lethal weapon of the militants — roadside bombs.
“Our forces are out there in the battlefields and combat areas more than at any other time in the past,” he said, citing reasons for the spike in casualties.
U.S. troop deaths, overall NATO fatalities and Afghan civilian deaths all dropped as insurgent attacks fell off in their traditional Login to read more