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Afghanistan violence had to get worse to get better: NATO

Afghan violence had to get worse for getting better, a NATO spokesman said.

Kabul: Violence levels in Afghanistan had to
get worse before they got better, a spokesman for the US-led
NATO force in the war-torn country said Monday, after its
bloodiest year yet in the war.

Brigadier General Josef Blotz said that troops from the
140,000-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
would not let up in their battle against the Taliban despite
the winter, when fighting has previously lessened.

"Our casualties are not a proof of any failure of our
strategy. On the contrary," he told a regular press briefing
in Kabul, highlighting a US strategy announced in 2009 that
boosted American troops by 30,000.

"With this increased force posture, we were able to
challenge Taliban and insurgency networks in areas where they
haven`t been challenged for many years," he said.

"This actually led to an upturn in violence and we
expected this.

"But obviously this is a necessary step, a necessary
phase in the overall strategy and before it gets better,
unfortunately it has to get worse and that`s what we saw
towards the end of 2010."

A total of 711 international troops died in Afghanistan
in 2010, according to the independent website

That was by far the highest annual figure yet, up from 521 in
2009 and 295 in 2008.

Limited, conditions-based troop withdrawals are
expected to start in July 2011 ahead of a scheduled transition
to Afghan security control by 2014.

Blotz insisted that international troops would fight
through the bitterly cold winter months in Afghanistan.

"There will be no end of the fighting season from an
ISAF perspective. We will maintain the pressure on the
insurgency everywhere," Blotz said. "There will definitely be
no winter pause."


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