Over 1,000 Afghan army personnel killed in 2012: official

2012-12-30 08:28:25 GMT2012-12-30 16:28:25(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

More than 1,000 personnel of Afghan army had lost their lives in Taliban-led attacks, bombings and military operations in 2012 in the insurgency-hit country, said a spokesman of the country's Defense Ministry on Sunday.

"Up to 1,050 Afghan National Army (ANA) personnel including officers and soldiers had been martyred in fight against insurgents and security incidents all over the country in 2012," General Zahir Azimi told a press briefing.

About 85 percent of army casualties were caused by the Taliban home-made Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), he said.

However, he failed to give the number of army soldiers who sustained injuries over the same period of time.

Azimi also did not provide any statistics on casualties on the side of Taliban and other insurgent groups in 2012, only saying " Afghan security forces in partnership with NATO-led coalition troops have killed, injured or captured thousands of anti- government elements over the past one year."

The Taliban, who ruled the country before they were ousted by a U.S.-led invasion in late 2001, renewed armed insurgency, staging ambush and suicide attacks, killing combatants as well as civilians.

Azimi also said the ANA had made significant progress and had important achievement besides being successful in providing security for the people in 2012.

Spokesman Azimi also reiterated that the Afghan government forces will take over full security charge from the NATO-led coalition troops by the end of 2013, a year ahead of schedule.

"The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) particularly the ANA get entirely ready to take security responsibilities from the coalition forces by the end of 2013," he noted, adding the ANSF has already took security responsibilities from coalition forces in areas where about 75 percent of the population lives.

Currently there are about 100,000 NATO-led forces, with 68,000 of them Americans, in the country to stop the Taliban from returning to power. The transition of security control from NATO- led troops to Afghan forces is due to be completed by the end of 2014 when majority of foreign combat forces leave the country.

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