|US General John Campbell (L) rolls the flag of the NATO-led |
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
- The political liars will be telling us all about their hard work and their great "victory" in Afghanistan. But we are leaving combat with the enemy intact and still attacking our allies. In fact, the Taliban has declared victory.
The insurgent group issued the statement in English a day after NATO marked the closure of its combat mission with a low-key ceremony in Kabul, arranged in secret due to the threat of Taliban attack.
"We consider this step a clear indication of their defeat and disappointment," the Taliban said.
"America, its invading allies... along with all international arrogant organizations have been handed a clear-cut defeat in this lopsided war."
The Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, have fought a resilient insurgency against NATO and Afghan forces for 13 years, with violence now at record levels nationwide.
The United Nations said civilian casualties hit a new high this year with about 10,000 non-combatants killed or wounded -- 75 percent of them by the Taliban.
On January 1 NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) combat mission will be replaced by a "training and support" mission.
About 12,500 NATO troops will stay on in Afghanistan.
The Taliban statement said the group would fight on "for the establishment of a pure Islamic system by expelling the remaining invading forces unconditionally".
President Ashraf Ghani has said he is open to peace talks, but the Taliban said it would "continue its Jihad and struggle so long as a single foreigner remains in Afghanistan in a military uniform".
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Afghan Police Die in Record Numbers
In Washington Speak this is called "victory".
(Military Times - AP) - As U.S. and international combat troops leave Afghanistan after more than 13 years fighting the Taliban, Afghan policemen are dying in record numbers as they perform dangerous tasks usually reserved for the military, according to the head of the European-funded mission to train the police force.
Afghanistan's war is as hot as it has been since the U.S.-led invasion following the Sept. 11 attacks overthrew the Taliban. The international combat mission ends on Dec. 31, leaving the Afghan security forces in charge after leading the fight since the middle of last year.
|Afghan police at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul.|
Some 5,000 members of Afghanistan's security forces — army, police and armed rural defense units — have died this year fighting the Taliban, according to Karl Ake Roghe, the outgoing head of EUPOL, the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan.
"The police have lost something like 3,200 this year, so most of the casualties belong to the Afghan National Police," Roghe, who has led the mission for two and a half years, told The Associated Press. By comparison, some 3,500 foreign forces, including at least 2,210 American soldiers, have been killed in the 13 years since the war began.
Afghanistan has 157,000 police in a force created, trained and funded by the European Union. Almost every day, Afghan authorities report the deaths of policemen in Taliban assaults on checkpoints around rural towns and on the outskirts of larger cities. The police receive little backup from the army and do not have air support, medical evacuation or dedicated hospitals that could help reduce deaths, Roghe said.
Many in the impoverished country join the police out of desperation. A policeman earns $200 a month, and the family continues to receive that amount if he is killed in the line of duty, as well as a one-time compensation payment of three times that amount. Officers get around $300 a month.