KABUL, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Afghan government forces will take over full security charge from the NATO-led coalition troops by the end of 2013, a year ahead of schedule, a spokesman of the Defense Ministry said Tuesday.
"The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) particularly the Afghan National Army (ANA) get entirely ready to take security responsibilities from the coalition forces by the end of 2013," General Zahir Azimi told a press briefing.
The last contingent of 33,000 U.S. reinforcing troops deployed to Afghanistan for nearly three years were pulled out of the country in September this year, handing over to Afghan army or closing down 550 military bases before leaving the country, Azimi added.
He said the number of Afghan security forces fully equipped and trained would reach 350,000 by the end of 2014 when most of foreign combat forces withdraw from the country.
Currently there are about 100,000 NATO-led forces, with 68,000 of them Americans, in the country to stop Taliban from returning to power.
"The Taliban militants have been cleared from several strongholds over the past couple of years particularly in the south and east. Their efforts to regain the areas this year were failed as they lost momentum on the ground," he said.
Azimi said that 830 Afghan army personnel had been killed in the past seven months from April to November known as fighting season in the country.
About 85 percent of army casualties were caused by Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), he said.
A total of 2,887 IEDs were defused by the army over the same period, he noted.
The army also seized 2,645 AK-47, 181 heavy guns, 72 RPG-7 rocket launchers, 252 vehicles and motorcycles used by the Taliban and other insurgent groups during the same period.
Currently, the army was involved in 17 joint and independent operations across the country, Azimi said.