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Pentagon Says Afghan Troop Deaths Climb

Afghan soldiers take up positions during a patrol in the Batikot district in September 17.
The Pentagon says the number of Afghan soldiers killed in fighting with the Taliban during this summer's fighting season rose nearly 80 percent compared with the same time period last year.

However, despite the jump in Afghan casualties, the Pentagon says the Afghan National Security Forces, or ANSF, had proven their ability to hold hard-won gains from the 12-year-old war, even as NATO forces pulled back from the front lines.

It also cautioned that Afghan forces would be at risk without continued international support after NATO wraps up its combat mission at the end of 2014.

The Pentagon also said that U.S. and coalition deaths dropped by almost 60 percent during the same April-September period.

The data came in a Defense Department report to Congress released on November 8.

U.S. Ambassador For Women's Rights Due In Kabul

Also in Afghanistan, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women's issues is due to arrive in Kabul on November 8 on a two-day visit.

Washington says Catherine Russell will express ongoing U.S. support for Afghan women and girls and highlight their essential role in establishing a secure, prosperous, and stable future in Afghanistan.

In the Afghan capital, Russell will meet with Afghan officials and women leaders across civil society to discuss several issues, such as women’s political inclusion and security in upcoming elections, education, women’s role in economic development, and gender-based violence.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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