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Upbeat assessment of Afghan war

Afghanistan's defence minister said efforts to combat the insurgency in his country could bear significant results by year-end despite the recent spike in allied casualties and rising doubts about the war in Nato capitals.

General Abdul Rahim Wardak acknowledged that there was currently "a higher tempo of violence".

But he stressed that moves to bolster security in key areas in Helmand and Kandahar provinces were proceeding according to schedule.

He said the war is "for the first time on the right track, with the proper strategy and also enough resources".

July was the deadliest month of the nearly nine-year war for US forces with 66 deaths.

On Sunday, the Netherlands became the first Nato country to end its combat mission in Afghanistan.

The General was speaking on a visit to Malaysia.

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