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NATO predicts tough fight in Afghanistan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg talks during a roundtable discussion at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul on March 16, 2016. (AFP photo)

NATO chief has predicted a tough year ahead for Afghanistan as the Kabul government continues battling the Taliban and other militant groups across the war-torn country.

"We have seen different terrorist organizations trying to establish themselves in Afghanistan...We have seen the presence of al-Qaeda, IS (Daesh), the Taliban and all the groups, and they are still in Afghanistan," Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, said on Wednesday.

"There is going to be continued fighting and we have to expect that there are going to be new attacks on the government forces," he added.

The remarks come as Daesh terror group has recently gained a foothold in Afghanistan, particularly in Nangarhar Province bordering Pakistan. Daesh has also been using a sophisticated social media campaign to woo local Taliban and other militants.

Afghan Ministry of Defense recently said that the Daesh terrorists have killed over 600 civilians in the past six months. According to the ministry, most of the victims were young people who refused to join the Takfiri group. The report also says 20,000 families have been internally displaced as a result of aggression perpetrated by Daesh in the past twelve months.

The United Nations has also said in a recent report that Afghanistan saw the highest number of civilian casualties last year since 2009.  

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has ordered the army to intensify attacks on the Daesh terrorists across the war-ravaged country.  

This file photo purportedly shows a number of militants being trained at a Daesh terror camp in an unknown location in Afghanistan.

Local security officials in Afghanistan have expressed concern about the country's security issues as the so-called fighting season with Taliban militants looms.

Each year, the season of spring and the melting of snow on the mountains along the border with Pakistan marks a significant upsurge in the fierce fighting between the Taliban and the Afghan forces.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed Taliban from power, but insecurity still remains across the country.

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