15 die in explosions as Afghan violence rises

Eight Nato soldiers and seven Afghan civilians were killed in a spate of explosions across southern Afghanistan, as new Nato figures showed violence actually increased there last year – undermining earlier claims to have reversed the insurgent’s momentum.

In southern Afghanistan, the main Taleban heartland which absorbed most of Barack Obama’s surge, violence jumped 5 per cent between January and November, compared to the same period the previous year.

Commanders had hoped to obliterate the Taleban in southern Afghanistan, so they could re-focus their resources in the east, where attacks soared by 21 per cent in the same period.

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However the latest figures, which coincide with the start of the American withdrawal, suggest the Taleban have weathered the surge one of the most heavily contested parts of the country.

In the most recent attacks, six children and an adult man were killed in Oruzgan province, Afghan officials said, when they accidentally triggered a bomb hidden in a rubbish heap.