NATO: 200 insurgents killed or captured in eastern Afghanistan
REPORTING FROM KABUL, AFGHANISTAN — Pitched battles in eastern Afghanistan over the last week have left about 200 insurgents captured or dead, a NATO official said Monday.
The U.S.-led offensive has primarily targeted the Haqqani network, blamed for a string of deadly attacks against American troops and high-profile targets including the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, the Afghan capital.
Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson, a German spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, told reporters in Kabul that the latest military push by Western and Afghan troops “degrades the Haqqani network’s ability to coordinate and execute future attacks.”
The Haqqani network is based in Pakistan, but its fighters are active in several Afghan provinces, most of them close to the border with Pakistan. The Obama administration has been pressuring Pakistan to act against the group, while at the same time seeking to draw the Haqqanis to the bargaining table.
Coalition troops also seized significant caches of weapons during the just-ended operations, Jacobson said. So far, about 20 of those captured or killed have been tied definitively to the Haqqanis, he said.
Although fighting traditionally tapers off during the colder months, Western military officials have vowed to continue putting pressure on the Taliban and other insurgents. While the NATO force has said the past “fighting season” was a success, insurgents have stepped up attacks targeting civilians and Afghan government and military installations. Political assassinations have also risen dramatically this year.
— Laura King
Photo: Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson, spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, at a news conference in September. Credit: S. Sabawoon / European Pressphoto Agency