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NATO: No Pause in Afghan Winter Fighting


A balloon floats past Bulgarian soldiers with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) as they celebrate New Year's eve at the US Camp Phoenix base in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec 31, 2010 (File Photo)

A balloon floats past Bulgarian soldiers with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) as they celebrate New Year's eve at the US Camp Phoenix base in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec 31, 2010 (File Photo)

NATO says there will be no letup in fighting during the winter in Afghanistan.

A spokesman for NATO'S International Security Assistance Force, German General Josef Blotz, says NATO will maintain pressure on the Taliban during the winter months when fighting traditionally eases.

Blotz said Monday that NATO expects a recent upturn in violence to continue, and he noted this is a sign that ISAF troops are putting pressure on Taliban strongholds. Despite the increased tempo of fighting, the spokesman added that a limited withdrawal of troops will begin this yerar, and that some security responsibilities for security will be transferred to Afghan forces.

In the western city of Herat, a bomb blast Monday killed one civilian and seriously wounded five other people, including an Afghan policeman. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Separately, ISAF condemned what it called an insurgent attack on a mosque in northern Baghlan province. Two men entered the mosque Monday and began shooting worshippers, killing four people and wounding two others.

NATO said joint forces of Afghan and NATO troops killed or captured a number of insurgents in separate clearing operations across Afghanistan. A NATO statement said detainees included several Taliban members identified as improvised explosive device facilitators.

Elsewhere, ISAF patrols found several caches of weapons in eastern and southern Afghanistan. The stashes included Russian anti-personnel mines, rocket-propelled grenade warheads, hand grenades, a large amount of ammonium nitrate used in home-made bombs and other unexploded ordnance.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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