Attacks down in eastern Afghanistan: US general | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 25, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 25, 2008

Attacks down in eastern Afghanistan: US general

Insurgent attacks have tumbled in eastern Afghanistan, notably along the border with Pakistan, in recent months compared to the same period in 2007, a US general said yesterday.
The fall was due to "aggressive operations" by Afghan security forces and their Western allies, as well as improvements in local governance, Brigadier General Joseph Votel told reporters.
The number of attacks so far in February was about 35 percent below that for the same month last year, said Votel, deputy commander of the US-led coalition force that works with a separate NATO-headed deployment.
"Our border attacks and incidents along the border ... continues to go downwards. We are probably 40 to 50 percent below what we were a year ago," he said.
"We attribute this to aggressive operations there that we have been conducting with the police, with the army, assisted by the coalition forces ... and the growth of the government in the districts and in the provinces."
Violence linked to insurgents with the extremist Taliban movement has been the most common in eastern Afghanistan and in the south of the country, mainly areas adjoining Pakistan where militants are said to have bases.
The unrest was at its deadliest last year since the Taliban were removed from power in late 2001 in a US-led invasion.
Unrest was expected to increase this year, as the weather warms, although there has already been a series of severe wintertime attacks, including a suicide bombing one week ago that left 100 dead in Kandahar province.
Votel played down talk of an insurgent "spring offensive."
"I think there is going be an offensive in the spring, the offensive is going to be us, the ANSF (the Afghan National Security Forces)," he said. "The government security forces will lead the operations and we will support."

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