KABUL – Afghan President Hamid Karzai warned Thursday that attacks against local police and soldiers were increasing as they prepare to take responsibility for security when NATO combat troops leave in 2014.
His remarks are likely to heighten doubts about the Afghans’ ability to take over when the bulk of 130,000 US-led combat troops withdraw.
Karzai was speaking to a special session of parliament a day after a Taliban suicide attack on a joint Afghan-US patrol that killed 21 people in the east, close to the Pakistani border.
“I have noticed that these days, in the past one, two or three months, attacks on our soldiers, police and intelligence officers have increased,” Karzai said.
“Every day we have at least 20 to 25 casualties, every day at least 20 to 25 of our youths are making the sacrifice for this country and are being killed.”
Taliban-led insurgents typically deploy suicide bombers and roadside bombs in their 10-year insurgency since being toppled from power by the 2001 US-led invasion. This week alone militants have staged three major suicide attacks on Afghan-NATO military posts in the troubled east and south of the country.
Karzai admitted his government and its Western allies had failed to bring peace to Afghanistan, which has suffered almost continuous conflict for the past three decades, saying “our land has not been secured, our homes, our people are not safe”.
“Neither the Afghan government nor the international forces fighting terrorism here could bring security,” he said.
But the president, who is due to step down from power in 2014, vowed to do whatever it took to strengthen its defenses. — AFP