Afghanistan says foreign fighters coming from Iraq

With the reduction of violence in Iraq, foreign militants were now flooding into Afghanistan to join Taliban insurgents battling Afghan and international troops, the Afghan defense minister said Wednesday.

There was a 33 percent rise in insurgent attacks in Afghanistan in 2008, according to NATO-led forces.

By Sayed Salahuddin, Reuters

Violence is expected to rise further in 2009 as Washington prepares to send up to 25,000 more troops into new areas of the southern Pashtun heartlands.

Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said there were about 15,000 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan but their numbers were being swelled by foreign insurgents moving in from Iraq, where violence has fallen after a U.S. troop “surge” and other measures.

“Since last year, as the result of the success of the surge in Iraq, there has been a flow of foreign terrorists into Afghanistan,” Wardak told a news conference.

“There have been engagements … in 2008, and in some of these engagements, actually 60 percent of the total force which we have encountered were foreign fighters,” he said. Wardak was speaking after he and Afghan President Hamid Karzai held talks with NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe, U.S. General John Craddock.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090204/w
l_nm/us_afghan_security

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