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NATO and Afghan forces kill 25 insurgents

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 20, 2013 at 8:12 a.m.

— NATO and Afghan forces have killed at least 25 insurgents and three of their commanders in separate operations around the country, Afghan and coalition officials said Wednesday.

The size and scope of the latest operations were an indication that the Afghan war is far from over after 11 years of conflict, even as U.S. and foreign forces begin rapidly withdrawing and handing the lead role for security to the Afghans.

Fighting is also expected to intensify as the traditional spring fighting season gets under way after the heavy snows that blanket much of northern and eastern Afghanistan starts melting.

The U.S.-led International Assistance Force has about 100,000 troops in the country, including about 66,000 from the United States. America is expected to pull out 34,000 of its troops within a year and its allies are also expected to scale back considerably. Afghan forces are to take the lead for security starting in the spring — months ahead of schedule.

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