Afghanistan says 276 rebels killed in two weeks

Kabul`s security forces prepare to take control of parts of Afghanistan from NATO soldiers.

Kabul: Afghanistan on Wednesday said its troops killed 276 Taliban-linked rebels in the past fortnight, as Kabul`s security forces prepare to take control of parts of the war-torn country from NATO soldiers.

In two weeks of operations, the military lost 59 troops, with another 108 injured, said Defence Ministry spokesman General Mohammad Zahir Azimi, who also claimed around 240 rebels had been captured.

None of the figures could be independently verified.

Afghan security forces are set to start assuming responsibility for seven areas later this month, in a gradual nationwide process scheduled to finish at the end of 2014, the deadline for NATO`s US-led combat mission to end.

But there has been widespread scepticism of the Afghans` ability to assume control, with serious doubts about their training and capability.

There are currently up to 150,000 foreign forces in Afghanistan, including about 99,000 from the United States.

Afghan security forces, trained and equipped by NATO, currently number around 300,000 and are supposed to reach a target number of 370,000 by 2014.

On Tuesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced in Kabul that a Sandhurst-style military training academy would be set up to train 1,350 Afghan officers a year and aimed to open its doors in 2013.

Bureau Report

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