Kandahar operation enters last phase, Taliban defeated: Afghan official

17:12, October 27, 2010      

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The spokesman of Afghan Defense Ministry General Zahir Azimi on Wednesday said that the ongoing military operation in Taliban birthplace the southern Kandahar province has entered its last phase and possibly would end in weeks.

"The Kandahar operation which is in its last stage has been considered significant as the military and civilian casualties figure was very low and the locals' cooperation was in its highest level," Azimi told reporters in the weekly press conference here.

All non-military measures including boosting reconstruction process, ensuring good governance and wiping out militants from their hideouts had been put in place before launching operations in last May, he further said. "Several villages have been cleared of the enemies and it means that insurgents have been defeated,"Azimi emphasized. "Most important point is that the operation is leading by Afghan National Army (ANA)," he said, adding it could be a model for other operations in future.

Frequent security incidents, Taliban-linked militancy and terror attacks in Kandahar, since early this year have claimed hundreds of lives including over a dozen local government officials.

To root out militants and ensure lasting peace in Kandahar, both Afghan and NATO-led troops launched joint operation couple of months ago in Arghandab, Jalai, Panjwai and adjoining areas and the operation has been going on during which scores of Taliban fighters, according to Azimi have been killed and injured or detained.

However, he did not give an exact number; saying at the end of operation the number of casualties would be released.

Meantime, he stressed that 732 militants including some foreign fighters among them have been arrested across the country over the past one month.

He also said 162 roadside bombs and over 120 kg of explosive materials, five suicide vests and five barrels of acid used in making homemade bombs and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have also seized by Afghan troops over the mentioned period of time.

The strength of Afghan National Army (ANA), according to Azimi is over 144,600 at the moment while the Afghan government with the support of NATO and U.S. forces has been trying to bring the number to 171,600 by the end of 2011.

Source: Xinhua


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