Building process of Afghan army continues as per schedule: Official

10:30, October 04, 2010      

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The spokesman of Afghan Defense Ministry General Zahir Azimi Sunday said the build up process of Afghan National Army (ANA) is going on as per schedule to achieve the target of 171,600-strong army in October 2011.

"The strength of ANA currently - beginning October was 134,000 as we agreed with our international partners but the goal was achieved 97 days ahead of the date set for," Azimi told reporters at a joint weekly press conference with the spokesman of NATO-led force Brigadier-General Josef Blotz.

He also added that the Afghan government is trying to increase the strength of its national army up to 171,600 by October next year.

"We know the challenge is not just building the size of ANSF, our focus is on building the capability of those forces as well," spokesman of NATO-led troops Blotz told journalists at the press conference.

Briefing reporters on the ongoing security operations in Taliban birthplace Kandahar province, Blotz also said elsewhere, in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province, a coalition patrol discovered more than 1,100 kilograms of ammonium nitrate Thursday.

"More than 50 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) could have been made of these materials," he stated.

"The Dragon Strike, tied to Hamkari,or partnered operation, with more Afghan than coalition forces is aimed at clearing insurgents' safe-havens in Jalai and Panjwai districts of Kandahar province," he stated.

The capabilities of ANSF to fight on their own, according to officials is essential for US President Barack Obama's strategy to end the nine year old war in the post-Taliban Afghanistan and bring troops home.

Source: Xinhua


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