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Afghan army, police take increasing casualties

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BRUSSELS (AP) _ Military officials say more than 300 Afghan soldiers and policemen are dying each month as the Afghan national security forces assume increasing responsibility for the war.

Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said Monday deaths have risen in the past year as the army and police took over the lead role for security in areas covering 75 percent of the country's population. He said on average 110 soldiers and 200 policemen die each month.

Azimi, speaking to reporters at NATO headquarters by video conference from Kabul, did not specify by how much those numbers had grown this year.

In contrast, fatalities among NATO soldiers have fallen steadily since mid-2012. This coincided with the drawdown of foreign troops, who are scheduled to end their combat role in 2014.

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