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Afghan security forces arrive at the Kunduz airport, April 30, 2015. Reuters/Omar Sobhani

Bloomberg: Afghan Forces Suffer Heavy Toll in First Taliban Battles

Afghan security forces are suffering record casualties in their first battles against the Taliban since the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan ended in December after more than 13 years.

The number of killed and wounded so far this year is about 70 percent higher than during the same period last year, said Colonel Brian Tribus, director of public affairs for NATO’s Afghanistan mission.

Last year’s casualty rates, which marked a fifth consecutive annual increase, were labeled in November as “not sustainable” by a top U.S. general. With Afghan forces now operating without the same U.S. and NATO support that they previously enjoyed, the body count has soared.

“We are taking so many casualties, that’s the reality,” said Afghan Interior Minister Nur al-haq Ulumi. “We are fighting by ourselves.”

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