3 civilians killed in militant gun battles

The April 27 editorial "How to make progress in Afghanistan" urged the Trump administration to send additional US trainers and Special Operations forces to Afghanistan and allow "American planes and drones to operate with the same freedom against the enemy that they have in Iraq and Syria".

"We call on United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate and document the incidents of war crimes in Afghanistan, including attacks on houses of worship, hospitals, and public structures, and identify and prosecute the perpetrators involved in the incidents", they said.

The death toll since the U.S., Canada and other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies invaded the country in October 2001 includes some 30,000 civilians, an estimated 3,500 U.S. coalition troops, 25,000 Afghan government troops and security personnel, and thousands of Taliban insurgents.

Last week, the Taliban announced the start of its "spring offensive", a heightened campaign of bombings, ambush attacks, and other raids that begin as weather conditions improve.

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Nicholson has characterized the situation in Afghanistan as a "stalemate", and said he was concerned about the high number of casualties taken by USA -allied Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.

Of those casualties, almost 3,500 people were killed, according to a report released today by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). Additional troops and expanded authorities are needed to provide advisory support to Afghan forces, the report finds.

The Afghan government has not provided US Forces-Afghanistan with data for the last seven weeks of that year, but even the partial numbers showed an increase of about 35 per cent from all of 2015, when some 5,000 security forces were killed.

Approximately, 59.7 percent of the country's 407 districts were under Afghan government control or influence as of February 20, 2017, showing a slight 2.5 percentage point increase from the last quarter in mid-November, the USA agency reported Monday.

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About 6,785 Afghan soldiers and police personnel were killed while another 11,777 were wounded in the first 11 months of 2016, according to SIGAR, adding the Afghan government has not provided the US military with data for the last seven weeks of that year.

They now control 59.7 per cent of the country, up from 57.2 per cent, Al Jazeera reported. Additionally, "s$3 ecurity incidents throughout 2016 and continuing into the first quarter of 2017 reached their highest level since United Nations reporting began in 2007".

The statement further added that a child was killed and three civilians including two children were wounded during the clash.

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