The top British commander in Afghanistan says the country's own military is proving to be an "effective force" despite rising casualties.
Lt Gen John Lorimer told the BBC that Afghan troops had demonstrated "resilience" in the face of Taliban attacks and were taking on insurgents.
Nato troops are handing over security responsibility to local forces before a withdrawal from Afghanistan next year.
Taliban attacks have left scores of civilians dead in the past week.
"When you are fighting a ruthless enemy inevitably you are going to take some casualties," said Gen Lorimer, Nato's second-in-command in Afghanistan.
In an interview with the BBC's Karen Allen in Kabul, he described the Afghan military as "well trained".
"They're developing leaders," the general added. "They are going on the front foot, taking the fight to the insurgents."
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