Violence continues through the end of the year in Afghanistan


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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Starting tomorrow, Afghanistan's 350,000-strong forces will officially take responsibility for security in their country, as international forces end their 13-year combat mission.

As NATO's role ends, one of Afghanistan's leaders says he has persuaded hundreds of insurgents to support peace efforts. He says he's reached an agreement with some 300 Taliban fighters in the north to lay down their arms.

Officials have said that 2014 was the deadliest of the war for government forces and civilians.

And the violence continued right up to the end of the year. A Taliban attack was thwarted today, as security forces stopped a car and a motorcycle that were loaded with explosives. They were carrying gunmen who then shot dead a policeman and two civilians.

In a central province that is a hotbed of insurgent activity, officials say a policeman killed three of his fellow officers and wounded five others while they ate dinner last night. The gunman fled after the attack.

%@AP Links

020-w-36-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent, with General John Campbell, top U.S. and coalition commander, Afghanistan)--As the international combat mission ends tonight, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan is touting the good news after 13 years of war. AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports from the Pentagon. ((opens with actuality)) (31 Dec 2014)

<<CUT *020 (12/31/14)££ 00:36

022-c-23-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent)-"stay in Afghanistan"-AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports the top coalition commander in Afghanistan says local forces are up to the job of securing their own country with the international combat mission ending. (31 Dec 2014)

<<CUT *022 (12/31/14)££ 00:23 "stay in Afghanistan"

APPHOTO XRG105: French soliders leave after a handover ceremony, at the Hamid Karzai Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) (31 Dec 2014)

<<APPHOTO XRG105 (12/31/14)££

APPHOTO XRG102: U.S. Maj Gen John K. McMullen, left, Brig. Philippe Lavigne, center, and Maj Gen Mehmet Cahit Bakir, right, stand during a handover ceremony, at the Hamid Karzai Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) (31 Dec 2014)

<<APPHOTO XRG102 (12/31/14)££

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