World Bulletin/News Desk
Taliban fighters in Afghanistan on Monday declared the "defeat" of the U.S. and its allies in the 13-year-old war, a day after the coalition officially marked the end of its combat mission.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force is shifting to a support mission for Afghan army and police more than a decade after an international alliance ousted the Taliban government for sheltering the planners of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on American cities.
"ISAF rolled up its flag in an atmosphere of failure and disappointment without having achieved anything substantial or tangible," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an statement emailed on Monday.
About 13,000 foreign troops, mostly Americans, will remain in the country under a new, two-year mission named "Resolute Support" that will continue the coalition's training of Afghan security forces to fight the insurgents, who have killed record numbers of Afghans this year.
While the U.S. and its allies say the Afghan army and police have been able to prevent the Taliban from taking significant territory, violence has shot up as the insurgents seek to gain ground.
For Afghanistan's new president, Ashraf Ghani, keeping government control of territory and preventing security from further deteriorating is a top priority.
Taliban spokesman Mujahid vowed that "the demoralised American-built forces will constantly be dealt defeats just like their masters".
The Taliban have launched increasingly deadly attacks this year. Nearly 3,200 Afghan civilians were killed in the conflict between the militant group and the army in 2014, and more than 4,600 Afghan army and police died in Taliban attacks.
Since 2001, nearly 3,500 foreign soldiers have been killed in the war, including around 2,200 Americans.
Taliban officials killed in drone strikes
Meanwhile, at least 13 Taliban militants were killed and two others were injured following NATO drone strikes in various provinces of Afghanistan, Afghan authorities said.
The drone strike targeted a meeting of high-level Taliban officials and military commanders.
Four Afghan Taliban senior officials were among those killed in the incidents.
According to local officials, a NATO predator drone fired missiles at an insurgent hideout in Tagab district of eastern Kapisa province on Sunday night while they were planning attacks on Afghan national security forces.
“Taliban shadow district governor and two other military commanders were among five killed and two others were wounded following a drone strike in Tagab district,” provincial deputy police Colonel Obaidullah Talwar told The Anadolu Agency.
Afghan security forces have been conducting a clearing operation against local and foreign insurgence in Tagab district of Kapisa province in recent days.
International coalition forces have recently increased their drone strikes on Taliban sanctuaries in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In a separate drone strike in eastern Nuristan province at least three Taliban militants and their commander were killed.
“A U.S. drone strike has killed four insurgents including their commander late Sunday night in Wanat Wigal district,” provincial governor Hafiz Abdul Qayom told the AA.
There were no civilian casualties. An investigation is underway about the identity of those killed militants.Last Mod: 29 Aralık 2014, 15:28