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Police deaths double after troop withdrawal

03 September 2013, 07:37

Kabul - Police deaths in Afghanistan have doubled this year after withdrawing US-led forces handed security of the war-ravaged country to poorly equipped local troops with less frontline experience fighting Taliban insurgents.

Almost twelve years after coalition forces invaded Afghanistan, swathes of territory are firmly under Taliban control and Afghan troops are still heavily reliant on foreign air support, particularly in remote areas.

Their lighter vehicles make them particularly vulnerable to roadside bombs.

The Afghan government, anxious not to damage morale, has been reluctant to publish regular casualty numbers. It no longer publishes death tolls for the army.

Interior Ministry figures published on Monday showed 1 792 police have been killed since March, most of them by roadside bombs, the same number who died in the preceding 12 months, according to data published on Monday.

It is one of the highest police death rates in the world and raises further questions over how the government will be able to keep the Taliban at bay once foreign troops have withdrawn fully from Afghanistan at the end of 2014.

"Afghan police are not as well equipped as foreign troops," said interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi. "Afghan police forces are in the first line of defence and more exposed to insurgents' attacks."

- Reuters


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