Pakistan should work with Afghanistan and not against it: Afghan defence minister

Pakistan should work with Afghanistan and not against it: Afghan defence minister

KABUL - Afghan acting minister of defense said on Sunday that despite the rise in attacks, casualties among insurgents have also risen by 11 percent in past seven months. 

Acting defense minister Gen. Tariq Shah Bahrami said on Sunday that in the past seven months insurgent attacks have increased by 13 percent. 

He also stated that the casualty toll among insurgents in this time has risen by 11 percent. 

Addressing a press conference in Kabul on Sunday, after returning from last week’s NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels, Bahrami said that although the number of attacks have increased, the casualty toll among insurgents was much higher than that sustained by the Afghan security forces. 

He reiterated NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg’s announcement that the organization would also be sending in more troops, in addition to the United States’ troop surge of about 4,000. 

Bahrami stated that NATO approved the Afghan government’s four-year strategy and pledged to continue supporting the country’s military endeavors financially. He also said a clear message emerged during the NATO meeting and that was aimed at Pakistan to stop supporting insurgency. 

He went on to say that a meeting was held on the sidelines of Brussels summit with Germany and other allies on the security situation in the northern parts of the country. 

He did not however give any further information in this regard. 

But he said pressure has been ramped up against Pakistan to work with Afghanistan and not against it. 

“If Pakistan takes one step towards us, we will take two steps,” he said.

This comes after the NATO chief said last week that 27 nations have committed to increasing troop numbers in the structure of the Resolute Support Mission in the coming months and the new commitment will increase the number of troops from 13,000 to 16,000.

The NATO chief also hailed the growing war capabilities of the Afghan Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) and said that the conventional Afghan security forces have prevented the Taliban from taking provincial capitals this fighting season. 

“In addition NATO allies and partners will continue to provide $1 billion USD a year to the defense and security forces (of Afghanistan) until at least 2020,” he added. 

In a question about reforms in Afghanistan in the election system and democratic institutions, Stoltenberg said that NATO has sent a clear message to the Afghan government about reforms.

He said NATO remains committed to supporting forces to develop capabilities, strengthen command and control, and to prepare the next generation of military leaders.

On the issue of ongoing security threats, he said that the situation remains challenging, but progress is being made.

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