A senior officer of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said on Monday that the war in Afghanistan would escalate in 2011 as the coalition pursues militants.
“There is no end to the fighting season; we need to keep pressure on the Taliban all over the country,” ISAF spokesman Brigadier General Joseph Blotz said. “We will see more violence in 2011.”
The countries taking part in the ISAF have poured troops into the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, traditional Taliban strongholds, reporting some progress in routing the militants.
But fighting and insurgent attacks have continued throughout the country this year, affecting some previously peaceful regions.
“While we still expect very tough fighting in the weeks and months ahead, we also have now started to shift to the hold phase in many areas of the country,” the German general said.
Afghan and coalition forces have been able to stop the insurgents’ momentum in some areas and reverse it in others, he said.
“Now, it’s all about solidifying those gains and not stopping our activities over wintertime,” he said.
Nearly 150,000 international forces are currently based in the country, fighting the Taliban insurgency, which is increasingly expanding in its ninth year.